Phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging to assess renal perfusion: a systematic review and statement paper

Giulia Villa, Steffen Ringgaard, Ingo Hermann, Rebecca Noble, Paolo Brambilla, Dinah S Khatir, Frank G Zöllner, Susan T Francis, Nicholas M Selby, Andrea Remuzzi, Anna Caroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging (PC-MRI) is a non-invasive method used to compute blood flow velocity and volume. This systematic review aims to discuss the current status of renal PC-MRI and provide practical recommendations which could inform future clinical studies and its adoption in clinical practice.

METHODOLOGY: A comprehensive search of all the PC-MRI studies in human healthy subjects or patients related to the kidneys was performed.

RESULTS: A total of 39 studies were included in which PC-MRI was used to measure renal blood flow (RBF) alongside other derivative hemodynamic parameters. PC-MRI generally showed good correlation with gold standard methods of RBF measurement, both in vitro and in vivo, and good reproducibility. Despite PC-MRI not being routinely used in clinical practice, there are several clinical studies showing its potential to support diagnosis and monitoring of renal diseases, in particular renovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

DISCUSSION: Renal PC-MRI shows promise as a non-invasive technique to reliably measure RBF, both in healthy volunteers and in patients with renal disease. Future multicentric studies are needed to provide definitive normative ranges and to demonstrate the clinical potential of PC-MRI, likely as part of a multi-parametric renal MRI protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalMagnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Kidney/blood supply
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perfusion
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases/diagnostic imaging
  • Renal Artery Obstruction
  • Renal Circulation
  • Reproducibility of Results


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