4D flow imaging: current status to future clinical applications

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2014 May;16(5):481. doi: 10.1007/s11886-014-0481-8.


4D flow MRI permits a comprehensive in-vivo assessment of three-directional blood flow within 3-dimensional vascular structures throughout the cardiac cycle. Given the large coverage permitted from a 4D flow acquisition, the distribution of vessel wall and flow parameters along an entire vessel of interest can thus be derived from a single measurement without being dependent on multiple predefined 2D acquisitions. In addition to qualitative 3D visualizations of complex cardiac and vascular flow patterns, quantitative flow analysis can be performed and is complemented by the ability to compute sophisticated hemodynamic parameters, such as wall shear stress or 3D pressure difference maps. These metrics can provide information previously unavailable with conventional modalities regarding the impact of cardiovascular disease or therapy on global and regional changes in hemodynamics. This review provides an introduction to the methodological aspects of 4D flow MRI to assess vascular hemodynamics and describes its potential for the assessment and understanding of altered hemodynamics in the presence of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Diseases / pathology*
  • Aortic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional* / trends
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography* / trends
  • Male
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity