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Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

Open Access

Normal values of wall shear stress in the pulmonary artery from 4D flow data

  • Julio A Sotelo1, 2,
  • Pablo Bächler3, 2,
  • Steren Chabert1, 2,
  • Daniel Hurtado4,
  • Pablo Irarrazaval5, 2,
  • Cristian Tejos5, 2 and
  • Sergio Uribe6, 2
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance201214(Suppl 1):W66

Published: 1 February 2012


Pulmonary ArteryWall Shear StressPulmonary VeinAtrial Septal DefectBland Altman Plot


Quantification of Wall Shear Stress (WSS) from 4D flow data in the aorta has been recently reported (1). However, this phenomenon has not been extensively studied in the pulmonary artery. The objective of this work was to develop a novel method to calculate WSS using 4D flow data. The method was applied to calculate WSS values in the main, right and left Pulmonary Artery (PA, RPA and LPA).


4D flow data of the whole heart (spatial resolution of 2.5m3, temporal resolution of 38ms) was acquired on 17 volunteers and 5 patients (1 repaired transposition of the great arteries, 2 after Glenn procedure and 2 with partial anomalous pulmonary vein return (1 patient with Atrial Septal Defect)).

Using a in-house code, three slices were reformatted perpendicular to the main PA, right pulmonary artery (RPA) and left pulmonary artery (LPA). Subsequently, we segmented the blood pool, and calculated Magnitude (WSS-M), Axial (WSS-A), and Circumferential (WSS-C) WSS using a Strain Rate Tensor based on cylindrical coordinates. For each slice, we generated three contiguous slices to include variation of the velocity along the direction of the vessel.

To evaluate the reproducibility of the proposed method, two independent observers analyzed the data.


Average WSS-M in volunteers was: MPA = 0.17±0.02N/m2; RPA = 0.22±0.05N/m2; LPA = 0.11±0.01N/m2. For patients, the average WSS-M was: MPA = 0.34±0.18N/m2; RPA = 0.36±0.1N/m2; LPA = 0.28±0.14N/m2. Figure 1 shows the average WSS-M calculated along the cardiac cycle for each segment. Figure 2 depicts Bland Altman plots of the mean WSS measured by the two observers, showing a small bias and standard deviations (mean difference of 0.016N/m2, 0.008N/m2 and 0.005N/m2 for the WSS-M in the PA, RPA and LPA respectively).


In this work we proposed a novel and reproducible method to calculate WSS derived from 4D flow data in the main PA, RPA and LPA. In volunteers, we found a greater WSS in the RPA compared with the LPA, which is probably associated with more complex flow patterns (helices) in the RPA (2). Values of WSS obtained in patients showed increasing values of WSS, probably owe to complex and retrograde flow patterns in the pulmonary circulation.


Fondecyt-11100427, Anillo ACT-079.

Authors’ Affiliations

Biomedical Engineering, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile
Biomedical Imaging Center, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
School of Medicine, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Structural Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Electrical Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Radiology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile


  1. Stalder A: MRM. 2008Google Scholar
  2. Bächler P: JCMR. 2011Google Scholar


© Sotelo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.