Intraaneurysmal flow visualization by using phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging: feasibility study based on a geometrically realistic in vitro aneurysm model

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Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of complex intraaneurysmal flow visualization with the currently available phase-contrast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging modality.

Methods. A geometrically realistic in vitro aneurysm model, in which detailed flow velocity analysis had already been conducted using laser Doppler velocimetry was used for this in vitro hemodynamic simulation, so that the results of phase-contrast velocity measurements could be compared with the previous reliable results. On a 1.5-tesla unit, three orthogonal components of velocity were obtained using a standard two-dimensional fast low—angle shot flow quantification sequence. Three-dimensional (3D) intraaneurysmal flow structures recorded during one cardiac cycle were depicted in one midsagittal and three axial cross-sectional planes with the aid of gray scale phase-contrast velocity maps. Isovelocity contour maps and secondary flow vectors were also created based on the phase-contrast velocity maps by using MATLAB software. The isovelocity contours in those three axial sections could demonstrate the shapes of inward and outward flow areas and their alternation over one cardiac cycle. The secondary flow vectors demonstrated twin vortices within the outward flow area adjacent to the boundary layer of inward and outward flow in all axial planes.

Conclusions. The phase-contrast MR imaging method was able to depict the complex 3D intraaneurysmal flow structures in the in vitro aneurysm model. Detailed 3D intraaneurysmal flow information will be obtainable in vivo after improvements are made in spatial resolution, which is expected in the near future. The capability to visualize intraaneurysmal flow structures directly with the use of noninvasive MR imaging technology will have a positive impact on future clinical practice.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Satoshi Tateshima, M.D., Division of Interventional Neuroradiology, Department of Radiological Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center and David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90095–1721. email: stateshi@ucla.edu.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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Figures

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    Left: A 3D CT angiogram demonstrating a BA tip aneurysm, posteroanterior view. Right: Photograph showing a geometrically realistic in vitro aneurysm model made of clear acrylic plastic, posteroanterior view.

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    Left: Photograph showing the in vitro aneurysm model inside a customized container (arrow), which was placed on an MR imaging table. Right: Photograph showing the in vitro aneurysm model submerged in the customized container with tubes connected to the parent arteries; the apparatus could be placed in the regular MR head coil.

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    A 3D time-of-flight MR angiogram of the in vitro BA tip aneurysm model, posteroanterior view. Lines represent the level of sections at which the phase-contrast velocity maps were obtained. The phase-contrast velocity maps were obtained in three axial sections: the upper (U) and lower (L) domes and aneurysm neck, and in one midsagittal section.

  • View in gallery

    Gray scale phase-contrast velocity maps obtained in the midsagittal section during the late systolic phase. Left: Phase-contrast velocity map encoded in the caudocranial (CC) direction. Note the white area in the BA and along the anterior aspect of the aneurysm dome, indicating fast flow in the caudocranial direction. The large gray area in the posterior aspect of the aneurysm dome indicates slow flow in the craniocaudad direction. Center: Phase-contrast velocity map encoded in the anterior-to-posterior (AP) direction. A white band along the top of the aneurysm dome represents a fast anterior-to-posterior direction flow component. The dark gray area in the center of the aneurysm dome and dark gray line along the posterior aneurysm wall indicate a posterior-to-anterior direction flow component. Right: Phase-contrast velocity map encoded in the right-to-left (RL) direction. The dark gray area on the top of the aneurysm dome demonstrates a left-to-right direction flow component. A = anterior; P = posterior.

  • View in gallery

    Gray scale phase-contrast velocity maps obtained in three axial sections during the late systolic phase. The gray level corresponds to velocity in the encoded directions: caudocranial, anterior-to-posterior, and right-to-left. Three velocity maps encoded in the caudocranial direction in the upper and lower dome and aneurysm neck show small white areas in the anterior aspect of each section, indicating inward flow areas. The other six velocity maps demonstrate mixed white and dark gray areas in the axial sections, which are indicative of complex secondary flow components.

  • View in gallery

    Alterations of intraaneurysmal flow structures in three axial sections during one cardiac cycle are shown by means of isovelocity contours and secondary flow vectors. Isovelocity contours at the levels of the upper dome (C), lower dome (B), and aneurysm neck (A) were created based on the gray level phase-contrast velocity maps encoded in the caudocranial direction at the corresponding levels. Secondary flow vectors in all three axial sections were created based on the gray level phase-contrast velocity maps encoded in the anterior-to-posterior and right-to-left directions at the corresponding levels.

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