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Non-triggered quantification of central and peripheral pulse-wave velocity

Michael C Langham, Cheng Li and Felix W Wehrli*

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 3400 Spruced Street, Philadelphia, (19104), USA

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Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2011, 13:81  doi:10.1186/1532-429X-13-81

Published: 21 December 2011



Stiffening of the arteries results in increased pulse-wave velocity (PWV), the propagation velocity of the blood. Elevated aortic PWV has been shown to correlate with aging and atherosclerotic alterations. We extended a previous non-triggered projection-based cardiovascular MR method and demonstrate its feasibility by mapping the PWV of the aortic arch, thoraco-abdominal aorta and iliofemoral arteries in a cohort of healthy adults.

Materials and Methods

The proposed method "simultaneously" excites and collects a series of velocity-encoded projections at two arterial segments to estimate the wave-front velocity, which inherently probes the high-frequency component of the dynamic vessel wall modulus in response to oscillatory pressure waves. The regional PWVs were quantified in a small pilot study in healthy subjects (N = 10, age range 23 to 68 yrs) at 3T.


The projection-based method successfully time-resolved regional PWVs for 8-10 cardiac cycles without gating and demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring beat-to-beat changes in PWV resulting from heart rate irregularities. For dul-slice excitation the aliasing was negligible and did not interfere with PWV quantification. The aortic arch and thoracoabdominal aorta PWV were positively correlated with age (p < 0.05), consistent with previous reports. On the other hand, the PWV of the iliofemoral arteries showed decreasing trend with age, which has been associated with the weakening of muscular arteries, a natural aging process.


The PWV map of the arterial tree from ascending aorta to femoral arteries may provide additional insight into pathophysiology of vascular aging and atherosclerosis.