4D Flow Imaging: Current Status to Future Clinical Applications

  • Michael MarklEmail author
  • Susanne Schnell
  • Alex J. Barker
Cardiac PET, CT, and MRI (SE Petersen, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Cardiac PET, CT, and MRI


4D flow MRI permits a comprehensive in-vivo assessment of three-directional blood flow within 3-dimensional vascular structures throughout the cardiac cycle. Given the large coverage permitted from a 4D flow acquisition, the distribution of vessel wall and flow parameters along an entire vessel of interest can thus be derived from a single measurement without being dependent on multiple predefined 2D acquisitions. In addition to qualitative 3D visualizations of complex cardiac and vascular flow patterns, quantitative flow analysis can be performed and is complemented by the ability to compute sophisticated hemodynamic parameters, such as wall shear stress or 3D pressure difference maps. These metrics can provide information previously unavailable with conventional modalities regarding the impact of cardiovascular disease or therapy on global and regional changes in hemodynamics. This review provides an introduction to the methodological aspects of 4D flow MRI to assess vascular hemodynamics and describes its potential for the assessment and understanding of altered hemodynamics in the presence of cardiovascular disease.


4D flow MRI PC-MRI Blood flow Hemodynamics 3D flow visualization Flow quantification Aorta Heart Pulmonary arteries 



Grant support has been received from NIH NHLBI grant R01HL115828 and AHA 13SDG14360004.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Michael Markl, Susanne Schnell, and Alex J. Barker declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material


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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Markl
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Susanne Schnell
    • 1
  • Alex J. Barker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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