• Open Access

Real-time flow MRI of the aorta at a resolution of 40 msec




To evaluate a novel real-time phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for the assessment of through-plane flow in the ascending aorta.

Materials and Methods

Real-time MRI was based on a radial fast low-angle shot (FLASH) sequence with about 30-fold undersampling and image reconstruction by regularized nonlinear inversion. Phase-contrast maps were obtained from two (interleaved or sequential) acquisitions with and without a bipolar velocity-encoding gradient. Blood flow in the ascending aorta was studied in 10 healthy volunteers at 3 T by both real-time MRI (15 sec during free breathing) and electrocardiogram (ECG)-synchronized cine MRI (with and without breath holding). Flow velocities and stroke volumes were evaluated using standard postprocessing software.


The total acquisition time for a pair of phase-contrast images was 40.0 msec (TR/TE = 2.86/1.93 msec, 10° flip angle, 7 spokes per image) for a nominal in-plane resolution of 1.3 mm and a section thickness of 6 mm. Quantitative evaluations of spatially averaged flow velocities and stroke volumes were comparable for real-time and cine methods when real-time MRI data were averaged across heartbeats. For individual heartbeats real-time phase-contrast MRI resulted in higher peak velocities for values above 120 cm s−1.


Real-time phase-contrast MRI of blood flow in the human aorta yields functional parameters for individual heartbeats. When averaged across heartbeats real-time flow velocities and stroke volumes are comparable to values obtained by conventional cine MRI. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:206–213. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.