Cardiac flow analysis applied to phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging of the heart

Ann Biomed Eng. 2009 Aug;37(8):1495-515. doi: 10.1007/s10439-009-9709-y. Epub 2009 May 23.


Phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging is performed to produce flow fields of blood in the heart. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the state of change in swirling blood flow within cardiac chambers and to quantify it for clinical analysis. Velocity fields based on the projection of the three dimensional blood flow onto multiple planes are scanned. The flow patterns can be illustrated using streamlines and vector plots to show the blood dynamical behavior at every cardiac phase. Large-scale vortices can be observed in the heart chambers, and we have developed a technique for characterizing their locations and strength. From our results, we are able to acquire an indication of the changes in blood swirls over one cardiac cycle by using temporal vorticity fields of the cardiac flow. This can improve our understanding of blood dynamics within the heart that may have implications in blood circulation efficiency. The results presented in this paper can establish a set of reference data to compare with unusual flow patterns due to cardiac abnormalities. The calibration of other flow-imaging modalities can also be achieved using this well-established velocity-encoding standard.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods*
  • Male