Vena caval flow: assessment with cine MR velocity mapping

Radiology. 1990 Nov;177(2):537-41. doi: 10.1148/radiology.177.2.2217797.


The authors used cine magnetic resonance (MR) velocity mapping to study flow in the superior vena cava (SVC) and inferior vena cava (IVC) of 13 healthy control subjects and 13 patients with right-sided cardiac disease. In the control subjects, peaks of flow in systole and diastole were observed, and mean SVC flow was 35% of the cardiac output. Respiratory gating was used in six control subjects to acquire images at end inspiration and end expiration, and although the systolic peak was reduced at end expiration, total flow was unchanged. A reduced systolic peak and retrograde flow in the IVC were observed in patients with tricuspid regurgitation. A reduced diastolic peak was seen in patients with pulmonary hypertension, pericardial constriction, and right ventricular dysplasia, reflecting reduced diastolic compliance of the right ventricle. In the patient with obstruction of the SVC, absence of flow was confirmed, and retrograde flow was seen in the azygos vein. The authors believe that cine MR velocity mapping is a reliable method of studying vena caval flow noninvasively and that it has important potential applications for the investigation of disorders of the right side of the heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Contraction
  • Pulmonary Circulation
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Venae Cavae / physiology*