Lengthy exams and breath-holding limit the use of pediatric cardiac MRI (CMR). 3D time-resolved flow MRI (4DF) is a free-breathing, single-sequence exam that obtains magnitude (anatomic) and phase contrast (PC) data. We compare the accuracy of gadobenate dimeglumine-enhanced 4DF on a 1.5 T magnet to 2D CMR in children with repaired tetralogy of Fallot (rTOF) to measure pulmonary net flow (PNF) as a reflection of pulmonary regurgitation, forward flow (FF) and ventricular volumetry. Thirty-four consecutive cases were included. 2D PCs were obtained at the valve level. Using 4DF, we measured PNF at the valve and at the main and branch pulmonary arteries. PNF measured at the valve by 4DF demonstrated the strongest correlation (r = 0.87, p < 0.001) and lowest mean difference (3.5 ± 9.4 mL/beat) to aortic net flow (ANF). Semilunar FF and stroke volume of the respective ventricle demonstrated moderate-strong correlation by 4DF (r = 0.66-0.81, p < 0.001) and strong correlation by 2D (r = 0.81-0.84, p < 0.001) with similar correlations and mean differences between techniques (p > 0.05). Ventricular volumes correlated strongly between 2D and 4DF (r = 0.75-0.96, p < 0.001), though 4DF overestimated right ventricle volumes by 11.8-19.2 mL/beat. Inter-rater reliability was excellent for 2D and 4DF volumetry (ICC = 0.91-0.99). Ejection fraction moderately correlated (r = 0.60-0.75, p < 0.001) with better reliability by 4DF (ICC: 0.80-0.85) than 2D (ICC: 0.69-0.89). 4DF exams were shorter than 2D (9 vs. 71 min, p < 0.001). 4DF provides highly reproducible and accurate measurements of flow with slight overestimation of RV volumes compared to 2D in pediatric rTOF. 4DF offers important advantages in this population with long-term monitoring needs.
Keywords: 4D flow MRI; Cardiac MRI; Congenital heart disease; Tetralogy of fallot.