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Eur Radiol. 2007 Jul;17(7):1892-7. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Value of MR phase-contrast flow measurements for functional assessment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Department of Radiology (E010), German Cancer Research Center DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany.


Goals of our study were to compare the pulmonary hemodynamics between healthy volunteers and patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and correlate MR flow measurements with echocardiography. Twenty-five patients with PAH and 25 volunteers were examined at 1.5 T. Phase-contrast flow measurements were performed in the ascending aorta and pulmonary trunk, resulting in the following parameters: peak velocity (cm/s), average blood flow (l/min), time to peak velocity (ms), velocity rise gradient and pulmonary distensibility (cm(2)). The bronchosystemic shunt was calculated. In PAH patients transthoracic echocardiography and right-heart catheterization (RHC) served as the gold standard. In comparison to volunteers, the PAH patients showed significantly reduced pulmonary velocities (P = 0.002), blood flow (P = 0.002) and pulmonary distensibility (P = 0.008). In patients, the time to peak velocity was shorter (P<0.001), and the velocity rise gradient was steeper (P = 0.002) than in volunteers. While in volunteers the peak velocity in the aorta was reached earlier, it was the reverse in patients. Patients showed a significant bronchosystemic shunt (P = 0.01). No meaningful correlation was found between MRI measurements and echocardiography or RHC. MRI is a feasible technique for the differentiation between PAH and volunteers. Further studies have to be conducted for the absolute calculation of pressure estimates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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