Characterization of Ascending Aortic Flow in Patients With Degenerative Aneurysms

Mitch J. F. G. Ramaekers*, Bouke P. Adriaans, Joe F. Juffermans, Hans C. van Assen, Sebastiaan C. A. M. Bekkers, Arthur J. H. A. Scholte, Sasa Kenjeres, Hildo J. Lamb, Joachim E. Wildberger, Jos J. M. Westenberg, Simon Schalla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives Degenerative thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) patients are known to be at risk of life-threatening acute aortic events. Guidelines recommend preemptive surgery at diameters of greater than 55 mm, although many patients with small aneurysms show only mild growth rates and more than half of complications occur in aneurysms below this threshold. Thus, assessment of hemodynamics using 4-dimensional flow magnetic resonance has been of interest to obtain more insights in aneurysm development. Nonetheless, the role of aberrant flow patterns in TAA patients is not yet fully understood. Materials and Methods A total of 25 TAA patients and 22 controls underwent time-resolved 3-dimensional phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging with 3-directional velocity encoding (ie, 4-dimensional flow magnetic resonance imaging). Hemodynamic parameters such as vorticity, helicity, and wall shear stress (WSS) were calculated from velocity data in 3 anatomical segments of the ascending aorta (root, proximal, and distal). Regional WSS distribution was assessed for the full cardiac cycle. Results Flow vorticity and helicity were significantly lower for TAA patients in all segments. The proximal ascending aorta showed a significant increase in peak WSS in the outer curvature in TAA patients, whereas WSS values at the inner curvature were significantly lower as compared with controls. Furthermore, positive WSS gradients from sinotubular junction to midascending aorta were most prominent in the outer curvature, whereas from midascending aorta to brachiocephalic trunk, the outer curvature showed negative WSS gradients in the TAA group. Controls solely showed a positive gradient at the inner curvature for both segments. Conclusions Degenerative TAA patients show a decrease in flow vorticity and helicity, which is likely to cause perturbations in physiological flow patterns. The subsequent differing distribution of WSS might be a contributor to vessel wall remodeling and aneurysm formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-500
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • 4D flow MRI
  • aorta
  • aneurysm
  • aortic aneurysm
  • hemodynamics
  • SIZE

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