OBJECTIVE - The purpose of this study was to determine whether cine phase-contrast MR volume flow measurements can identify patients with peripheral vascular disease.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS - We performed MR measurements of volume blood flow in the popliteal artery of subjects at rest and after 5 min of plantar flexion exercise in 10 volunteers (mean age, 28 years old), in five patients suspected of having peripheral vascular disease (mean age, 58 years old), and in five other volunteers of a similar age (mean age, 57 years old).
RESULTS - Volume blood flow at rest was similar in volunteers and in patients. Four patients who had abnormal ankle-brachial indexes had lower flow increases after exercise (2.6-fold) compared with the five older normal volunteers (4.8-fold; p < .03, t test). These flow increases correlated well with ankle-brachial indexes: r = .97. The four patients with abnormal ankle-brachial indexes had monophasic resting waveforms, whereas all other subjects had triphasic waveforms.
CONCLUSION - MR volume blood flow measurement may aid in evaluating peripheral vascular disease. Studies of larger patient groups will be necessary.