Systolic reverse flow derived from 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance in bicuspid aortic valve is associated with aortic dilation and aortic valve stenosis: a cross sectional study in 655 subjects

J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2023 Jan 26;25(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12968-022-00906-9.


Background: Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) disease is associated with increased risk of aortopathy. In addition to current intervention guidelines, BAV mediated changes in aortic 3D hemodynamics have been considered as risk stratification measures. We aimed to evaluate the association of 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) derived voxel-wise aortic reverse flow with aortic dilation and to investigate the role of aortic valve regurgitation (AR) and stenosis (AS) on reverse flow in systole and diastole.

Methods: 510 patients with BAV (52 ± 14 years) and 120 patients with trileaflet aortic valve (TAV) (61 ± 11 years) and mid-ascending aorta diameter (MAAD) > 35 mm who underwent CMR including 4D flow CMR were retrospectively included. An age and sex-matched healthy control cohort (n = 25, 49 ± 12 years) was selected. Voxel-wise reverse flow was calculated in the aorta and quantified by the mean reverse flow in the ascending aorta (AAo) during systole and diastole.

Results: BAV patients without AS and AR demonstrated significantly increased systolic and diastolic reverse flow (222% and 13% increases respectively, p < 0.01) compared to healthy controls and also had significantly increased systolic reverse flow compared to TAV patients with aortic dilation (79% increase, p < 0.01). In patients with isolated AR, systolic and diastolic AAo reverse flow increased significantly with AR severity (c = - 83.2 and c = - 205.6, p < 0.001). In patients with isolated AS, AS severity was associated with an increase in both systolic (c = - 253.1, p < 0.001) and diastolic (c = - 87.0, p = 0.02) AAo reverse flow. Right and left/right and non-coronary fusion phenotype showed elevated systolic reverse flow (> 17% increase, p < 0.01). Right and non-coronary fusion phenotype showed decreased diastolic reverse flow (> 27% decrease, p < 0.01). MAAD was an independent predictor of systolic (p < 0.001), but not diastolic, reverse flow (p > 0.1).

Conclusion: 4D flow CMR derived reverse flow associated with BAV was successfully captured even in the absence of AR or AS and in comparison to TAV patients with aortic dilation. Diastolic AAo reverse flow increased with AR severity while AS severity strongly correlated with increased systolic reverse flow in the AAo. Additionally, increasing MAAD was independently associated with increasing systolic AAo reverse flow. Thus, systolic AAo reverse flow may be a valuable metric for evaluating disease severity in future longitudinal outcome studies.

Keywords: 4D flow MRI; Aortic dilation; Aortic regurgitation; Aortic stenosis; Bicuspid aortic valve; Voxel-wise reverse flow.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Diseases* / complications
  • Aortic Valve / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve / pathology
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / pathology
  • Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dilatation
  • Heart Valve Diseases* / complications
  • Heart Valve Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies