Magnetic resonance measurement of blood and CSF flow rates with phase contrast - Normal values, repeatability and CO2 reactivity

Stefan K. Piechnik, Paul E. Summers, Peter Jezzard, James V. Byrne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Background Similarity in flow pulsatility has been proposed as a basis for semi-automated segmentation of vessel lumens for MR-based flow measurement, but re-examinations of salient aspects of the methodology have not been widely reported. Methods 12 normal control subjects underwent repeated (3 Baseline+1 5%CO2) phase contrast measurements of CSF flow through the cerebral aqueduct and foramen magnum, and CBF through the 6 large cranial vessels at the level of the 1st vertebra. Average flows were calculated for regions temporally correlated (0.3≤Rthreshold≤0.95) to user defined seed points and their 3×3 neighbours. Results Arterial CBF averaged 710ml/min, with low variability (±4%/17%, intra-individual/group CV respectively) and was the only flow to respond significantly to 5%/mmHg CO2. Venous outflow was much smaller (298ml/min ±10%/ 72%), possibly due to the weak venous pulse and variable venous anatomy. Average CSF flows exceeded the classical 0.4ml/min CSF production rate and were highly variable - aqueduct: 0.6ml/min (±50%/93%), foramen magnum: -2.7ml/min (±158%/226%). Conclusions This preliminary analysis identified procedural steps that can improve the accuracy and repeatability of MR flow measurements, but the process remains user-dependent for the weakly pulsatile foramen magnum CSF and venous flows where variability remains a significant confound even to relatively large perturbations such as CO2 administration

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActa Neurochirurgica, Supplementum
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameActa Neurochirurgica, Supplementum
ISSN (Print)00651419


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Flow measurement
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Phase contrast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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