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West J Med. 1994 March; 160(3): 237–242.
PMCID: PMC1022388

Magnetic resonance imaging and measurement of blood flow.


Blood flow can be shown as a negative image with magnetic resonance spin-echo techniques or as a positive image with gradient-echo techniques. Phase contrast refers to techniques where structures can be seen because of flow-induced phase shifts. These techniques can show the presence (slow flow) and also the direction of flow. Gradient-echo techniques--including phase-contrast versions--can be used with cardiac synchronization to obtain multiple images during the cardiac cycle. These images can be viewed in a movie or cine format to provide dynamic information about blood flow. Blood flow can be measured by using contrast media in boluses or even more elegantly with phase-contrast methods. Clinical applications of flow measurements are growing rapidly. Phase-contrast or gradient-echo techniques can be used to create magnetic resonance angiography, which was first used to study the carotid bifurcation and intracranial circulation and is now being used throughout the body.

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Selected References

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