Blood flow in the carotid arteries: quantification by using phase-sensitive MR imaging

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1989 Jun;152(6):1307-10. doi: 10.2214/ajr.152.6.1307.


The feasibility of MR phase-sensitive imaging for the quantification of blood flow in the carotid arteries was studied in two normal volunteers and six patients with carotid artery and/or cerebrovascular disease. The technique consists of sensitizing the phase of the MR signal to blood flow velocity gated to different times in the cardiac cycle. Flow velocities and volumes were measured by using transverse planes in the common, internal, and external carotid arteries, and flow curves were generated. Measurements made by using flow phantoms correlated well with calculated results. The MR measurements yielded values between 250 and 580 ml/min for the total flow through each of the common carotid arteries in the two normal volunteers. Markedly reduced flow (about 50% below normal) was detected in a patient whose arteriogram showed severe occlusion of the internal carotid artery. In a second patient, who had a large frontal intracranial arteriovenous malformation noted by arteriography, the MR-quantified flow was abnormally high (about 1 liter/min). In the remaining four patients, the findings on phase-sensitive quantification were consistent with those expected from clinical and other laboratory studies (including arteriography and sonography). These preliminary findings suggest that MR phase mapping may be a feasible tool for the noninvasive quantification of carotid blood flow.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnosis
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / physiopathology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Carotid Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Structural