Characterization of the discrepancies between four-dimensional phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging and in-silico simulations of cerebrospinal fluid dynamics

Soroush Heidari Pahlavian (Lead / Corresponding author), Alexander C. Bunck (Lead / Corresponding author), Francis Loth (Lead / Corresponding author), R. Shane Tubbs (Lead / Corresponding author), Theresia Yiallourou (Lead / Corresponding author), Jan Robert Kroeger (Lead / Corresponding author), Walter Heindel (Lead / Corresponding author), Bryn A. Martin (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of the present study was to compare subject-specific magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations with time-resolved three-directional (3D) velocity-encoded phase-contrast MRI (4D PCMRI) measurements of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) velocity field in the cervical spinal subarachnoid space (SSS). Three-dimensional models of the cervical SSS were constructed based on MRI image segmentation and anatomical measurements for a healthy subject and patient with Chiari I malformation. CFD was used to simulate the CSF motion and compared to the 4D PCMRI measurements. Four-dimensional PCMRI measurements had much greater CSF velocities compared to CFD simulations (1.4 to 5.6x greater). Four-dimensional PCMRI and CFD both showed anterior and anterolateral dominance of CSF velocities, although this flow feature was more pronounced in 4D PCMRI measurements compared to CFD. CSF flow jets were present near the nerve rootlets and denticulate ligaments (NRDL) in the CFD simulation. Flow jets were visible in the 4D PCMRI measurements, although they were not clearly attributable to nerve rootlets. Inclusion of spinal cord NRDL in the cervical SSS does not fully explain the differences between velocities obtained from 4D PCMRI measurements and CFD simulations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number051002
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015



    • 4D phase-contrast MRI
    • Cerebrospinal fluid
    • Computational fluid dynamics
    • Denticulate ligament
    • Hydrocephalus
    • Intrathecal drug delivery
    • Spinal cord nerve root
    • Spinal subarachnoid space
    • Type 1 chiari malformation

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