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J Biomech. 2017 Jan 4;50:180-187. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.11.041. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

The manifestation of vortical and secondary flow in the cerebral venous outflow tract: An in vivo MR velocimetry study.

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Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Siemens Healthcare, CA, USA.
Department of Neurology, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA; Radiology Service, VA Medical Center, San Francisco, USA.


Aberrations in flow in the cerebral venous outflow tract (CVOT) have been implicated as the cause of several pathologic conditions including idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), multiple sclerosis (MS), and pulsatile tinnitus (PT). The advent of 4D flow magnetic resonance imaging (4D-flow MRI) has recently allowed researchers to evaluate blood flow patterns in the arterial structures with great success. We utilized similar imaging techniques and found several distinct flow characteristics in the CVOT of subjects with and without lumenal irregularities. We present the flow patterns of 8 out of 38 subjects who have varying heights of the internal jugular bulb and varying lumenal irregularities including stenosis and diverticulum. In the internal jugular vein (IJV) with an elevated jugular bulb (JB), 4Dflow MRI revealed a characteristic spiral flow that was dependent on the level of JB elevation. Vortical flow was also observed in the diverticula of the venous sinuses and IJV. The diversity of flow complexity in the CVOT illustrates the potential importance of hemodynamic investigations in elucidating venous pathologies.


4D-flow MRI; Cerebral venous flow; Jugular vein; Pulsatile tinnitus; Vortical flow

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