Comparison of Hemodynamic Visualization in Cerebral Arteries: Can Magnetic Resonance Imaging Replace Computational Fluid Dynamics?

J Pers Med. 2021 Mar 30;11(4):253. doi: 10.3390/jpm11040253.


A multimodality approach was applied using four-dimensional flow magnetic resonance imaging (4D flow MRI), time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (TOF-MRA) signal intensity gradient (SIG), and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to investigate the 3D blood flow characteristics and wall shear stress (WSS) of the cerebral arteries. TOF-MRA and 4D flow MRI were performed on the major cerebral arteries in 16 healthy volunteers (mean age 34.7 ± 7.6 years). The flow rate measured with 4D flow MRI in the internal carotid artery, middle cerebral artery, and anterior cerebral artery were 3.8, 2.5, and 1.2 mL/s, respectively. The 3D blood flow pattern obtained through CFD and 4D flow MRI on the cerebral arteries showed reasonable consensus. CFD delivered much greater resolution than 4D flow MRI. TOF-MRA SIG and CFD WSS of the major cerebral arteries showed reasonable consensus with the locations where the WSS was relatively high. However, the visualizations were very different between TOF-MRA SIG and CFD WSS at the internal carotid artery bifurcations, the anterior cerebral arteries, and the anterior communicating arteries. 4D flow MRI, TOF-MRA SIG, and CFD are complementary methods that can provide additional insight into the hemodynamics of the human cerebral artery.

Keywords: cerebral arteries; computational fluid dynamics (CFD); four-dimensional flow magnetic resonance imaging (4D flow MRI); hemodynamics visualization; signal intensity gradient from time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography (TOF-MRA SIG).