Can FLAIR hyperintense vessel (FHV) signs be influenced by varying MR parameters and flow velocities? A flow phantom analysis

Acta Radiol. 2016 May;57(5):580-6. doi: 10.1177/0284185115592060. Epub 2015 Jun 29.


Background: Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) hyperintense vessels (FHVs) have been used to assess leptomeningeal collateral flow in acute ischemic stroke. However, prior FHVs studies showed inconsistent results, which may be ascribable to different magnetic resonance (MR) parameters used.

Purpose: To evaluate whether FHVs could be influenced by varying MR parameters and flow velocities, using a flow phantom.

Material and methods: A total of 512 sets of FLAIRs were performed with varying parameters and flow velocities, using a flow phantom. Flow phantom was manufactured with 3.5% agarose solution, an 8-mm inner diameter silicone tube and non-pulsatile pump. Varying MR parameters were repetition time (TR)/inversion time (TI), echo time (TE), flip angle (FA) of refocusing pulse, and periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction (PROPELLER). The signal intensity of flow were measured and regarded as the degree of FHVs. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses were applied to evaluate the association between the degree of FHVs and varying MR parameters as well as flow velocities.

Results: On univariate analysis, PROPELLER technique (R(2 )= 0.448) demonstrated strongest correlation with the degree of FHV, followed by flow velocities (R(2 )= 0.204), FA (R(2 )= 0.126), and TE (R(2 )= 0.031), whereas TR/TI showed no significant correlations. On multivariate analysis, TE, FA, PROPELLER technique, and flow velocities were independent factors influencing the degree of FHVs (<0.001).

Conclusion: Flow velocities, FA of refocusing pulse, TE, and PROPELLER technique significantly affected the degree of FHVs. Optimized MR parameters should be used consistently in future studies, which may provide more reliable results.

Keywords: FLAIR; Stroke; collateral circulation; flow phantom; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Equipment Design
  • Hemorheology
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Stroke / diagnosis


  • Contrast Media