MR characterization of blood flow in native and grafted internal mammary arteries

Jörg F. Debatin, John A. Strong, Henry Dirk Sostman, Rosa Negro‐Vilar, Susan S. Paine, James M. Douglas, Norbert J. Pelc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In the postoperative patient with anginal symptoms, differentiation between bypass graft compromise and nonischemic causes has until now been accomplished only by means of x-ray angiography. A non-invasive test is clearly desirable. The authors used a cine phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique to characterize blood flow in native and grafted internal mammary arteries (IMAs). Ten volunteers and 15 patients who had recently undergone IMA coronary artery bypass grafting were imaged. Cine PC MR imaging was performed in the transaxial plane at the level of the pulmonary artery bifurcation. Flow in both IMAs was quantified and expressed as a percentage of cardiac output measured in the ascending aorta. In the 15 patients, flow analysis was performed in both the native and grafted IMAs. In the volunteers, IMA blood flow ranged from 2.1% to 4.3% of cardiac output on the left (mean, 3.5%) and 2.1% to 5.1% (mean, 3.5%) on the right. There was considerable intersubject variability, with coefficients of variation of 10.7% for the left and 12.3% for the right IMA. Intrasubject variability was limited, with estimated common standard deviations of 0.45% of cardiac output (range, 0.2%-1.1%) for the left and 0.39% (range, 0.1%-0.6%) for the right IMA. Flow in grafted IMAs was identified in 13 of 15 patients. In one of two patients without demonstrable IMA graft flow, cardiac catheterization confirmed lack of flow. IMA graft flow varied from 28 to 164 mL/min (mean, 80.3 mL/min). This study shows the feasibility of using cine PC MR imaging as a quantitative method of evaluating blood flow in IMA coronary artery bypass grafts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993


  • Arteries, grafts and prostheses. 54.4551, 949.4529
  • Arteries, internal mammary. 949.129412. 949.12942. 949.12944
  • Cine studies
  • Coronary vessels, stenosis or obstruction, 54.76
  • Coronary vessels, surgery. 54.4551
  • Flow quantification
  • Grafts
  • Phase imaging
  • Vascular studies
  • Velocity studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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