Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the velocity and direction of blood flow in microvessels, such as lenticulostriate arteries (LSAs), using PC MRA.
Methods: Eleven healthy subjects were scanned with 7 Tesla (T) MRI. Three velocity encoding (VENC) values of 15, 50, and 100 cm/s were tested for detecting the flow velocity in LSAs. The flow directions in Circle of Willis (CoW) were also examined with images obtained by the proposed method. Three subjects were also scanned with 3T MRI to determine the possibility of velocity measurement in LSAs. Difference between 3T and 7T was quantitatively analyzed in terms of signal-to-noise ratio and velocities in vessels and static tissues.
Results: In 7T MRI, use of VENC = 15 cm/s provided great visualization and velocity measurements in small and slow flowing vessels, such as the LSAs. The mean of peak velocities in LSAs was 9.61 ± 1.78 cm/s. The results obtained with low VENC also clearly depicted the directions of flow in CoW, especially in posterior communicating arteries. However, 3T MRI could not detect the velocity of blood flow in LSAs.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated the potential for measuring the velocity and direction of blood flow in the targeted microvessels using an appropriate VENC and 7T MRI.
Keywords: 7T MRI; PC MRA; blood flow direction; blood flow velocity; microvessel; phase contrast MRA.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.