Purpose: To use four-dimensional (4D)-flow MRI for the comprehensive in vivo analysis of hemodynamics and its relationship to size and morphology of different intracranial aneurysms (IA). We hypothesize that different IA groups, defined by size and morphology, exhibit different velocity fields, wall shear stress, and vorticity.
Materials and methods: The 4D-flow MRI (spatial resolution = 0.99-1.8 × 0.78-1.46 × 1.2-1.4 mm(3) , temporal resolution = 44-48 ms) was performed in 19 IAs (18 patients, age = 55.4 ± 13.8 years) with saccular (n = 16) and fusiform (n = 3) morphology and different sizes ranging from small (n = 8; largest dimension = 6.2 ± 0.4 mm) to large and giant (n = 11; 25 ± 7 mm). Analysis included quantification of volumetric spatial-temporal velocity distribution, vorticity, and wall shear stress (WSS) along the aneurysm's 3D surface.
Results: The 4D-flow MRI revealed distinct hemodynamic patterns for large/giant saccular aneurysms (Group 1), small saccular aneurysms (Group 2), and large/giant fusiform aneurysms (Group 3). Saccular IA (Groups 1, 2) demonstrated significantly higher peak velocities (P < 0.002) and WSS (P < 0.001) compared with fusiform aneurysms. Although intra-aneurysmal 3D velocity distributions were similar for Group 1 and 2, vorticity and WSS was significantly (P < 0.001) different (increased in Group 1 by 54%) indicating a relationship between IA size and hemodynamics. Group 3 showed reduced velocities (P < 0.001) and WSS (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The 4D-flow MRI demonstrated the influence of lesion size and morphology on aneurysm hemodynamics suggesting the potential of 4D-flow MRI to assist in the classification of individual aneurysms.
Keywords: 4D-flow MRI; WSS; hemodynamics; intracranial aneurysms; velocity; vorticity.
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