Magnetic resonance velocity mapping by the field even echo rephasing sequence was used to provide two dimensional velocity profiles in the ascending and the descending aorta. Flow patterns were studied in ten healthy volunteers by a display method that gave clear details of the profiles. Velocity profiles in the ascending aorta were skewed in systole with an axis of skew roughly symmetrical about the plane of the aortic arch. During diastole flow was reversed along the posterior left wall of the ascending aorta while it continued forwards at the anterior right wall. In the descending aorta plug flow occurred but with minimal skew. Flow along the right wall was reversed during diastole. Turbulent flow did not occur in the ascending or descending aorta of any healthy subject. Magnetic resonance velocity mapping is a very powerful tool for the study of cardiovascular physiology. Its non-invasiveness, its quantitative two-dimensional data, its accuracy, and its high spatial resolution make it suitable for clinical use.
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