Effect of age on cerebral blood flow: measurement with ungated two-dimensional phase-contrast MR angiography in 250 adults

Radiology. 1998 Dec;209(3):667-74. doi: 10.1148/radiology.209.3.9844657.


Purpose: To determine the normal values and effects of age and sex on total cerebral blood flow (CBF) as measured with ungated two-dimensional phase-contrast magnetic resonance (MR) angiography.

Materials and methods: Volume flow rates in the basilar artery and both internal carotid arteries were measured on two-dimensional phase-contrast MR angiograms obtained in 250 subjects (age range, 19-88 years; mean age, 50 years) undergoing MR imaging because of indications other than cerebrovascular disease. Volume flow rates for the three arteries were summed to obtain the total CBF, and the values were analyzed in terms of age and sex.

Results: Mean total CBF was 616 mL/min +/- 143. There was a significant yearly decrease with age in total CBF of 4.8 mL/min (P < .001). Mean total CBF ranged from 748 mL/min +/- 121 to 474 mL/min +/- 105 in subjects aged 19-29 and 80-89 years, respectively. No sex differences were found. Mean relative contributions of the right and left internal carotid arteries and the basilar artery to total CBF were 41%, 40%, and 19%, respectively, with no substantial change due to age.

Conclusion: Ungated two-dimensional phase-contrast MR angiography is a useful, noninvasive technique for assessing total CBF. By using this technique, a significant decrease in total CBF with age was demonstrated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors