Estimation of local aortic elastic properties with MRI.
Aortic compliance and pulse wave velocity (PWV) are important determiners of heart load, and are clinically useful indices of cardiovascular risk. Most direct methods to derive them require invasive pressure measurement. In this work a noninvasive technique to evaluate aortic compliance and PWV using MRI is proposed. MRI magnitude and phase images to measure area and flow in the ascending aorta were acquired in a group of 13 young healthy subjects. Assuming that the early systolic part of the wave was unidirectional and reflectionless, PWV was determined as the ratio between flow and area variations at early systole. Our results were compared to pulse wave velocities derived from a direct transit time, and to one using ascending aortic area and peripheral brachial pulse pressure. The new method proved to be accurate and in good agreement with the transit time method, as well as with previously published results.