Flow dynamics of cerebrospinal fluid: assessment with phase-contrast velocity MR imaging performed with retrospective cardiac gating

Radiology. 1992 May;183(2):395-405. doi: 10.1148/radiology.183.2.1561340.


To visualize the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) throughout the ventricles and subarachnoid space, measure mean and maximum CSF velocities, and quantitate CSF flow through the aqueduct of Sylvius, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed with a sagittal technique that is flow-sensitive in the craniocaudal direction (along the readout axis) and a high-resolution axial technique sensitive to through-plane flow in three healthy subjects and 19 patients with known or suspected disorders of the CSF circulation. In both techniques, retrospective cardiac gating was used to cover the complete cardiac cycle. The sagittal technique was superior in overall assessment of CSF flow dynamics, including the motion of adjacent brain parenchyma. The high-resolution axial technique provided an accurate measurement of the rate of CSF flow through the aqueduct; only this technique provided sufficient accuracy to enable distinction between normal and hyperdynamic CSF flow. It is concluded that assessment of CSF flow dynamics is a useful adjunct to routine MR imaging in communicating and obstructive hydrocephalus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Aqueduct / physiology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Gated Blood-Pool Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Subarachnoid Space / physiology