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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Nov;22(5):614-27.

Simultaneous measurement of blood and myocardial velocity in the rat heart by phase contrast MRI using sparse q-space sampling.

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Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.



To measure cardiac blood flow patterns and ventricular wall velocities through the cardiac cycle in anesthetized Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats.


A gradient-echo cine pulse sequence incorporating pulsed field gradients (PFGs) provided phase contrast (PC) motion encoding. We achieved a range of velocity sensitivity that was sufficient to measure simultaneously the large flow velocities within the cardiac chambers and aortic outflow tract (up to 70 cm s(-1) during systole), and the comparatively small velocities of the cardiac wall (0-3 cm s(-1)). A scheme of sparsely sampling q-space combined with a probability-based method of velocity calculation permitted such measurements along three orthogonal axes, and yielded velocity vector maps in all four chambers of the heart and the aorta, in both longitudinal and transverse sections, for up to 12 time-points in the cardiac cycle.


Left ventricular systole was associated with a symmetrical laminar flow pattern along the cardiac axis, with no appearance of turbulence. In contrast, blood showed a swirling motion within the right ventricle (RV) in the region of the pulmonary outflow tract. During left ventricular diastole a plume of blood entered the left ventricle (LV) from the left atrium. The ventricular flow patterns could also be correlated with measurements of left ventricular wall motion. The greatest velocities of the ventricular walls occurred in the transverse cardiac plane and were maximal during diastolic refilling. The cardiac wall motion in the longitudinal axis demonstrated a caudal-apical movement that may also contribute to diastolic refilling.


The successful measurements of blood and myocardial velocity during normal myocardial function may be extended to quantify pathological cardiac changes in animal models of human cardiac disease.

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