Background: Temporal patterns of coronary blood flow velocity can provide important information on disease state and are currently assessed invasively using a Doppler guidewire. A non-invasive alternative would be beneficial as it would allow study of a wider patient population and serial scanning.
Methods: A retrospectively-gated breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping sequence (TR 19 ms) was developed at 3 Tesla. Velocity maps were acquired in 8 proximal right and 15 proximal left coronary arteries of 18 subjects who had previously had a Doppler guidewire study at the time of coronary angiography. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) velocity-time curves were processed semi-automatically and compared with corresponding invasive Doppler data.
Results: When corrected for differences in heart rate between the two studies, CMR mean velocity through the cardiac cycle, peak systolic velocity (PSV) and peak diastolic velocity (PDV) were approximately 40 % of the peak Doppler values with a moderate - good linear relationship between the two techniques (R(2): 0.57, 0.64 and 0.79 respectively). CMR values of PDV/PSV showed a strong linear relationship with Doppler values with a slope close to unity (0.89 and 0.90 for right and left arteries respectively). In individual vessels, plots of CMR velocities at all cardiac phases against corresponding Doppler velocities showed a consistent linear relationship between the two with high R(2) values (mean +/-SD: 0.79 +/-.13).
Conclusions: High temporal resolution breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping underestimates absolute values of coronary flow velocity but allows accurate assessment of the temporal patterns of blood flow.