Concomitant analysis of arterial, venous, and CSF flows using phase-contrast MRI: a quantitative comparison between MS patients and healthy controls

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013 Sep;33(9):1314-21. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2013.95. Epub 2013 Jun 19.


Venous dysfunction has recently been hypothesized to contribute to the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS). 2D phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive and innocuous technique enabling reliable quantification of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood flows in the same imaging session. We compared PC-MRI measurements of CSF, arterial and venous flows in MS patients to those from a normative cohort of healthy controls (HC). Nineteen MS patients underwent a standardized MR protocol for cerebral examination on a 3T system including Fast cine PC-MRI sequences with peripheral gating in four acquisition planes. Quantitative data were processed using a homemade software to extract CSF and blood flow regions of interest, animate flows, and calculate cervical and intracranial vascular flow curves during the cardiac cycle (CC). Results were compared with values obtained in 21 HC using multivariate analysis. Venous flow patterns were comparable in both groups without signs of reflux. Arterial flows (P=0.02) and cervical CSF dynamic oscillations (P=0.01) were decreased in MS patients. No significant differences in venous cerebral and cervical outflows were observed between groups, thereby contradicting the recently proposed theory of venous insufficiency. Unexpected decrease in arterial perfusion in MS patients warrants further correlation to volumetric measurements of the brain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arteries / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Radiography
  • Veins / physiopathology