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Age dependence of pulmonary artery blood flow measured by 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance: Results of a population-based study

: Wehrum, T.; Hagenlocher, P.; Lodemann, T.; Vach, W.; Dragonu, I.; Hennemuth, A.; Mühlen, C. von zur; Stuplich, J.; Ngo, B.T.T.; Harloff, A.

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Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 18 (2016), Art. 31, 9 pp.
ISSN: 1097-6647 (print)
ISSN: 1532-429X (online)
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer MEVIS ()

It was our aim to systematically analyze pulmonary artery blood flow within different age-groups in the general population using 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in order to provide a context for interpreting results of future studies (e.g., in pulmonary hypertension) using this technique.
An age-stratified sample (n = 126) of the population of the city of Freiburg, Germany, underwent ECG-triggered and navigator-gated 4D flow CMR at 3 T of the pulmonary arteries and the thoracic aorta. Analysis planes were placed in the main, left, and right pulmonary artery using dedicated software. Study participants were divided into three groups (1:20–39; 2:40–59; and 3:60–80 years of age). Subsequently, pulmonary blood flow was visualized, quantified and compared between groups.
Time-to-peak of systolic antegrade flow was shorter, peak and average velocities and flow volumes were lower in older subjects. At the end of systole, retrograde flow in the main pulmonary artery was observed in all but one subject. Subsequently, a second antegrade flow peak occurred in diastole which was lower in older subjects. Age was an independent predictor of hemodynamic change after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and body-mass-index. During systole, abnormal vortices occurred in the main pulmonary artery in four male subjects.
Comprehensive analysis of pulmonary blood flow was feasible in all subjects. We were able to detect an independent effect of ageing on pulmonary hemodynamics reflecting increased vessel stiffness and reduced pulmonary circulation. Findings of this study may be helpful for discriminating physiological from pathological flow in patients with pulmonary diseases in the future.