Assessment of PDA shunt and systemic blood flow in newborns using cardiac MRI

Kathryn M. Broadhouse, Anthony N. Price, Giuliana Durighel, David J. Cox, Anna E. Finnemore, A. David Edwards, Joseph V. Hajnal, Alan M. Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) remains common in preterm newborns, but uncertainty over optimal management is perpetuated by clinicians' inability to quantify its true haemodynamic impact. Our aim was to develop a technique to quantify ductal shunt volume and the effect of PDA on systemic blood flow volume in neonates. Phase contrast MRI sequences were optimized to quantify left ventricular output (LVO) and blood flow in the distal superior vena cava (SVC) (below the azygos vein insertion), descending aorta (DAo) and azygos vein. Total systemic flow was measured as SVC+DAo-azygos flow. Echo measures were included and correlated to shunt volumes. 75 infants with median (range) corrected gestation 33+6 (26+4-38+6) weeks were assessed. PDA was present in 15. In 60 infants without PDA, LVO matched total systemic flow (mean difference 2.06ml/kg/min, repeatability index 13.2%). In PDA infants, ductal shunt volume was 7.9-74.2% of LVO. Multiple linear regression analysis correcting for gestational age showed that there was a significant association between ductal shunt volume and decreased upper and lower body flow (p=0.01 and p<0.001). However, upper body blood flow volumes were within the control group 95% confidence limits in all 15 infants with PDA, and lower body flow volumes within the control group limits in 12 infants with PDA. Echocardiographic assessment of reversed diastolic flow in the descending aorta had the strongest correlation with ductal shunt volume. We have demonstrated that quantification of shunt volume is feasible in neonates. In the presence of high volume ductal shunting the upper and lower body flow volume are somewhat reduced, but levels remain within or close to the normal range for preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1141
Number of pages7
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Phase contrast MRI
  • Preterm infants


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