Purpose: To explore the feasibility of using four-dimensional (4D) flow MRI to quantify blood flow and kinetic energy (KE) in the heart during strenuous exercise. Materials and Methods: For this prospective study, cardiac 4D flow MRI was performed in 11 healthy young adult participants (eight men, three women; mean age, 26 years ± 1 [standard deviation]) at rest and during exercise with an MRI-compatible exercise step-per between March 2016 and July 2017. Flow was measured in the ascending aorta (AAo) and main pulmonary artery (MPA). KE was quantified in the left and right ventricle. Significant changes in flow and KE during exercise were identified by using t tests. Repeatability was assessed with inter-and intraobserver comparisons and an analysis of internal flow consistency. Results: Nine participants successfully completed both rest and exercise imaging. Internal flow consistency analysis in systemic and pulmonary circulation showed average relative differences of 10% at rest and 16% during exercise. For flow measurements in the AAo and MPA, relative differences between observers never exceeded 6% in any vessel and showed excellent correlation, even during exercise. Relative differences were increased for KE, typically on the order of 30%, with poor interobserver correlation between measurements. Conclusion: Four-dimensional flow MRI can quantify increases in flow in the AAo and MPA during strenuous exercise and is highly repeatable. KE had reduced repeatability because of suboptimal segmentation methods and requires further development before clinical implementation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging