Time-of-flight and phase shift methods have both been used for vascular imaging with magnetic resonance. Phase methods, and phase contrast in particular, are well suited to quantitative measurements of velocity and volume flow rate. The most robust methods for measuring flow encode through-plane velocity into phase shift and compute flow by integrating the measured velocity over the vessel lumen. The accuracy of the flow data can be degraded by the effects of acceleration and eddy currents and by partial volume effects, including the effects of finite slice thickness and resolution, pulsatile waveforms, motion, and chemical shift. The reproducibility depends on the signal-to-noise of the data and the strength of the flow encoding and can be degraded by inconsistent definition of the vessel boundary. The adjustable flow sensitivity inherent in this method is a particular asset, allowing phase contrast flow measurement to operate over a dynamic range exceeding 10(5). Recently developed rapid imaging methods are helpful in applications that would be compromised by respiratory motion. With care, excellent quantitative data can be quickly obtained in vivo, and the resulting flow information is valuable for the diagnosis and management of a variety of conditions.