Background: Qualitative and quantitative assessment of renal blood flow is valuable in the evaluation of patients with renal and renovascular diseases as well as in patients with heart failure. The temporal pattern of renal flow velocity through the cardiac cycle provides important information about renal haemodynamics. High temporal resolution interleaved spiral phase velocity mapping could potentially be used to study temporal patterns of flow and measure resistive and pulsatility indices which are measures of downstream resistance.
Methods: A retrospectively gated breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping sequence (TR 19 ms) was developed at 3 Tesla. Phase velocity maps were acquired in the proximal right and left arteries of 10 healthy subjects in each of two separate scanning sessions. Each acquisition was analysed by two independent observers who calculated the resistive index (RI), the pulsatility index (PI), the mean flow velocity and the renal artery blood flow (RABF). Inter-study and inter-observer reproducibility of each variable was determined as the mean +/- standard deviation of the differences between paired values. The effect of background phase errors on each parameter was investigated.
Results: RI, PI, mean velocity and RABF per kidney were 0.71+/- 0.06, 1.47 +/- 0.29, 253.5 +/- 65.2 mm/s and 413 +/- 122 ml/min respectively. The inter-study reproducibilities were: RI -0.00 +/- 0.04 , PI -0.03 +/- 0.17, mean velocity -6.7 +/- 31.1 mm/s and RABF per kidney 17.9 +/- 44.8 ml/min. The effect of background phase errors was negligible (<2% for each parameter).
Conclusions: High temporal resolution breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping allows reproducible assessment of renal pulsatility indices and RABF.