Background: Helices and vortices in thoracic aortic blood flow measured with 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) have been associated with aortic dilation and aneurysms. Current approaches are semi-quantitative or when fully quantitative based on 2D plane placement. In this study, we present a fully quantitative and three-dimensional approach to map and quantify abnormal velocity and wall shear stress (WSS) at peak systole in patients with a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) of which 52% had a repaired coarctation.
Methods: 4D flow CMR was performed in 48 patients with BAV and in 25 healthy subjects at a spatiotemporal resolution of 2.5 × 2.5 × 2.5mm3/ ~ 42 ms and TE/TR/FA of 2.1 ms/3.4 ms/8° with k-t Principal Component Analysis factor R = 8. A 3D average of velocity and WSS direction was created for the normal subjects. Comparing BAV patient data with the 3D average map and selecting voxels deviating between 60° and 120° and > 120° yielded 3D maps and volume (in cm3) and surface (in cm2) quantification of abnormally directed velocity and WSS, respectively. Linear regression with Bonferroni corrected significance of P < 0.0125 was used to compare abnormally directed velocity volume and WSS surface in the ascending aorta with qualitative helicity and vorticity scores, with local normalized helicity (LNH) and quantitative vorticity and with patient characteristics.
Results: The velocity volumes > 120° correlated moderately with the vorticity scores (R ~ 0.50, P < 0.001 for both observers). For WSS surface these results were similar. The velocity volumes between 60° and 120° correlated moderately with LNH (R = 0.66) but the velocity volumes > 120° did not correlate with quantitative vorticity. For abnormal velocity and WSS deviating between 60° and 120°, moderate correlations were found with aortic diameters (R = 0.50-0.70). For abnormal velocity and WSS deviating > 120°, additional moderate correlations were found with age and with peak velocity (stenosis severity) and a weak correlation with gender. Ensemble maps showed that more than 60% of the patients had abnormally directed velocity and WSS. Additionally, abnormally directed velocity and WSS was higher in the proximal descending aorta in the patients with repaired coarctation than in the patients where coarctation was never present.
Conclusion: The possibility to reveal directional abnormalities of velocity and WSS in 3D provides a new tool for hemodynamic characterization in BAV disease.