Echo planar imaging–induced errors in intracardiac 4D flow MRI quantification

Jos J. M. Westenberg, Hans C. van Assen, Pieter J. van den Boogaard, Jelle J. Goeman, Hicham Saaid, Jason Voorneveld, Johan Bosch, Sasa Kenjeres, Tom Claessens, Pankaj Garg, Marc Kouwenhoven, Hildo J. Lamb

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Purpose: To assess errors associated with EPI-accelerated intracardiac 4D flow MRI (4DEPI) with EPI factor 5, compared with non-EPI gradient echo (4DGRE). Methods: Three 3T MRI experiments were performed comparing 4DEPI to 4DGRE: steady flow through straight tubes, pulsatile flow in a left-ventricle phantom, and intracardiac flow in 10 healthy volunteers. For each experiment, 4DEPI was repeated with readout and blip phase-encoding gradient in different orientations, parallel or perpendicular to the flow direction. In vitro flow rates were compared with timed volumetric collection. In the left-ventricle phantom and in vivo, voxel-based speed and spatio-temporal median speed were compared between sequences, as well as mitral and aortic transvalvular net forward volume. Results: In steady-flow phantoms, the flow rate error was largest (12%) for high velocity (>2 m/s) with 4DEPI readout gradient parallel to the flow. Voxel-based speed and median speed in the left-ventricle phantom were ≤5.5% different between sequences. In vivo, mean net forward volume inconsistency was largest (6.4 ± 8.5%) for 4DEPI with nonblip phase-encoding gradient parallel to the main flow. The difference in median speed for 4DEPI versus 4DGRE was largest (9%) when the 4DEPI readout gradient was parallel to the flow. Conclusions: Velocity and flow rate are inaccurate for 4DEPI with EPI factor 5 when flow is parallel to the readout or blip phase-encoding gradient. However, mean differences in flow rate, voxel-based speed, and spatio-temporal median speed were acceptable (≤10%) when comparing 4DEPI to 4DGRE for intracardiac flow in healthy volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2398-2411
Number of pages14
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date20 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • 4D flow MRI
  • echo planar imaging
  • intracardiac blood flow
  • phase-contrast MRI

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