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Age-related changes of right atrial morphology and inflow pattern assessed using 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance: results of a population-based study

: Wehrum, T.; Lodemann, T.; Hagenlocher, P.; Stuplich, J.; Ngo, B.T.T.; Grundmann, S.; Hennemuth, A.; Hennig, J.; Harloff, A.

Fulltext ()

Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 20 (2018), Art.38, 10 pp.
ISSN: 1097-6647 (print)
ISSN: 1532-429X (online)
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer MEVIS ()

Background: To assess age-related changes of blood flow and geometry of the caval veins and right atrium (RA) using 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) data obtained in a population-based study. Methods: An age-stratified sample (n = 126) of the population of the city of Freiburg, Germany, underwent transthoracic echocardiography and electrocardiogram-triggered and navigator-gated 4D flow CMR at 3 Tesla covering the caval veins and right heart. Study participants were divided into three age groups (1:20–39; 2:40–59; and 3:60–80 years of age). Analysis planes were placed in the superior and inferior caval vein. Subsequently, RA morphology and three-dimensional blood inflow pattern was assessed. Results: Blood flow of the RA showed a clockwise rotating helix without signs of turbulence in younger subjects. By contrast, such rotation was absent in 12 subjects of group 3 and turbulences were significantly more frequent (p < 0.001). We observed an age-related shift of the caval vein axis. While the outlets of the superior and inferior caval veins were facing each other in group 1, lateralization occurred in older subjects (p < 0.001). A convergence of axes was observed from lateral view with facing axes in older subjects (p = 0.004). Finally, mean and peak systolic blood flow in the caval veins decreased with age (group 3 < 2 < 1). Conclusions: We have provided reference values of 4D CMR blood flow for different age groups and demonstrated the significant impact of age on hemodynamics of the RA inflow tract. This effect of aging should be taken into account when assessing pathologic conditions of the heart in the future.