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Flow profiles are important determinants of fluid–vessel wall interactions. The aim of this study was to assess blood flow profiles in the aorta and pulmonary trunk in patients with transposition and different ventriculoarterial connection, and hence different mechanics of the coherent pump.
In all, 29 patients with operated transposition – concordant atrioventricular and discordant ventriculoarterial connection, and no other cardiac malformation – and eight healthy volunteers were assessed with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging: n = 17 patients after atrial redirection, with a morphologic right ventricle acting as systemic pump and a morphologic left ventricle connected to the pulmonary trunk, and n = 12 patients after the arterial switch procedure, with physiologic ventriculoarterial connections. Flow-sensitive four-dimensional velocity-encoded magnetic resonance imaging was used to analyse systolic flow patterns in the aorta and pulmonary trunk, relating to helical flow and vortex formation.
In the aorta, overall helicity was present in healthy volunteers, but it was absent in all patients independent on the operation technique. Partial helices were observed in the ascending aorta of 58% of patients after arterial switch. In the pulmonary trunk, mostly parallel flow was seen in healthy volunteers and in patients after arterial switch, whereas vortex formation was present in 88% of patients after atrial redirection.
Blood flow patterns differ substantially between the groups. In addition to varying mechanics of the coherent pumping ventricles, the absent overall helicity in all patients might be explained by the missing looping of the aorta in transposition.
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