Pitfalls in MR measurement of tissue blood flow with intravascular tracers: which mean transit time?

Magn Reson Med. 1993 Apr;29(4):553-8. doi: 10.1002/mrm.1910290420.


Measuring tissue blood flow with NMR imaging of intravascular tracers is more difficult than measurements of tissue blood volume. One major obstacle to the application of the Central Volume Principle is the direct measurement of the mean transit time. In this note, we demonstrate that mean transit time (MTT), which relates tissue blood volume to blood flow via the Central Volume Principle, is not the first moment of the concentration-time curve for MR or CT imaging of purely intravascular tracers. However, while first moment methods cannot be used by themselves to determine absolute flow, we show that transit curves may provide a useful relative measure of flow, for example, by considering ratios of the first moments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Contrast Media*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Models, Structural
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Contrast Media