Placental perfusion imaging using velocity-selective arterial spin labeling

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Magnetic Resonance in Medicine








arterial spin labeling; ASL; placental perfusion; velocity-selective arterial spin labeling; VSASL


© 2018 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Purpose: The placenta remains the least understood human organ, in large part because of the lack of noninvasive tools currently available to examine placental function in vivo. This study investigates the feasibility of using velocity-selective arterial spin labeling (VSASL) to assess placental perfusion. Methods: In placental perfusion imaging, VSASL was compared with pseudocontinuous ASL (PCASL), which is currently the standard technique in brain arterial spin labeling (ASL). Reproducibility of placental VSASL was evaluated using two repeated scans within the same imaging session. Inflow dependence of placental VSASL was investigated by modulating VSASL signal using maternal inhalation of 100% oxygen and variation of cut-off velocity. All experiments were performed in healthy pregnant volunteers at 1.5 Tesla. Results: Apparent placental perfusion measured using PCASL with two different labeling locations was only 16% and 9% of that of VSASL (n = 7; P < 0.01 for both). Placental VSASL was highly reproducible based on within-subject coefficient of variation of 3.5%, repeatability of 19.7 mL/100 g/min, and intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.97 (n = 14). Placental VSASL was also found to be dependent on blood inflow given that the absolute change in apparent placental perfusion with maternal hyperoxia was significantly larger than that of two repeated scans under normoxia (n = 7; P < 0.01), and there was a significant difference in apparent placental perfusion between different cut-off velocities (n = 6; P < 0.01). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility of noninvasive placental perfusion imaging using VSASL and lays the groundwork for acquiring placental perfusion images in pregnancies at high risk where placental function is impaired.

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