ISSN: 1899-0967
Polish Journal of Radiology
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vol. 84
Head and neck radiology
Review paper

Imaging of cerebrospinal fluid flow: fundamentals, techniques, and clinical applications of phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging

Adrian Korbecki
Anna Zimny
Przemysław Podgórski
Marek Sąsiadek
Joanna Bladowska

© Pol J Radiol 2019; 84: e240-e250
Online publish date: 2019/05/13
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Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a dynamic compartment of the brain, constantly circulating through the ventricles and subarachnoid space. In recent years knowledge about CSF has expended due to numerous applications of phase-

contrast magnetic resonance imaging (PC-MRI) in CSF flow evaluation, leading to the revision of former theories and new concepts about pathophysiology of CSF disorders, which are caused either by alterations in CSF production, absorption, or its hydrodynamics.

Although alternative non-invasive techniques have emerged in recent years, PC-MRI is still a fundamental sequence that provides both qualitative and quantitative CSF assessment. PC-MRI is widely used to evaluate CSF hydrodyna­mics in normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), Chiari type I malformations (CMI), syringomyelia, and after neurosurgical procedures. In NPH precisely performed PC-MRI provides reliable clinical information useful for differential diagnosis and selection of patients benefiting from surgical operation. Patients with CMI show abnormalities in CSF dynamics within the subarachnoid space, which are pronounced even further if syringomyelia coexists. Another indication for PC-MRI may be assessment of post-surgical CSF flow normalisation.

The aim of this review is to highlight the significance of CSF as a multifunctional entity, to outline both the physical and technical background of PC-MRI, and to state current applications of this technique, not only in the diagnosis of central nervous system disorders, but also in the further clinical monitoring and prognosis after treatment.

cerebrospinal fluid, syringomyelia, normal pressure hydrocephalus, phase-contrast MRI, Chari malformation

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