Four-dimensional flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (4D flow CMR) allows comprehensive assessment of pulmonary artery (PA) flow dynamics. Few studies have characterized longitudinal changes in pulmonary flow dynamics and right ventricular (RV) recovery following a pulmonary endarterectomy (PEA) for patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). This can provide novel insights of RV and PA dynamics during recovery. We investigated the longitudinal trajectory of 4D flow metrics following a PEA including velocity, vorticity, helicity, and PA vessel wall stiffness.
Twenty patients with CTEPH underwent pre-PEA and > 6 months post-PEA CMR imaging including 4D flow CMR; right heart catheter measurements were performed in 18 of these patients. We developed a semi-automated pipeline to extract integrated 4D flow-derived main, left, and right PA (MPA, LPA, RPA) volumes, velocity flow profiles, and secondary flow profiles. We focused on secondary flow metrics of vorticity, volume fraction of positive helicity (clockwise rotation), and the helical flow index (HFI) that measures helicity intensity.
Mean PA pressures (mPAP), total pulmonary resistance (TPR), and normalized RV end-systolic volume (RVESV) decreased significantly post-PEA (P < 0.002). 4D flow-derived PA volumes decreased (P < 0.001) and stiffness, velocity, and vorticity increased (P < 0.01) post-PEA. Longitudinal improvements from pre- to post-PEA in mPAP were associatedmore »
We developed a semi-automated pipeline for analyzing 4D flow metrics of vessel stiffness and flow profiles. PEA was associated with changes in 4D flow metrics of PA flow profiles and vessel stiffness. Longitudinal analysis revealed that PA helicity was associated with pulmonary remodeling and RV reverse remodeling following a PEA.