Susceptibility-based time-resolved whole-organ and regional tissue oximetry

Felix W. Wehrli, Audrey P. Fan, Zachary B. Rodgers, Erin K. Englund, Michael C. Langham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The magnetism of hemoglobin – being paramagnetic in its deoxy and diamagnetic in its oxy state – offers unique opportunities to probe oxygen metabolism in blood and tissues. The magnetic susceptibility χ of blood scales linearly with blood oxygen saturation, which can be obtained by measuring the magnetic field ΔB of the intravascular MR signal relative to tissue. In contrast to χ, the induced field ΔB is non-local. Therefore, to obtain the intravascular susceptibility Δχ relative to adjoining tissue from the measured ΔB demands solution of an inverse problem. Fortunately, for ellipsoidal structures, to which a straight, cylindrically shaped blood vessel segment conforms, the solution is trivial. The article reviews the principle of MR susceptometry-based blood oximetry. It then discusses applications for quantification of whole-brain oxygen extraction – typically on the basis of a measurement in the superior sagittal sinus – and, in conjunction with total cerebral blood flow, the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). By simultaneously measuring flow and venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) a temporal resolution of a few seconds can be achieved, allowing the study of the response to non-steady-state challenges such as volitional apnea. Extensions to regional measurements in smaller cerebral veins are also possible, as well as voxelwise quantification of venous blood saturation in cerebral veins accomplished by quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) techniques. Applications of susceptometry-based oximetry to studies of metabolic and degenerative disorders of the brain are reviewed. Lastly, the technique is shown to be applicable to other organ systems such as the extremities using SvO2 as a dynamic tracer to monitor the kinetics of the microvascular response to induced ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere3495
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Applications, Other functional MRI methods
  • Endogenous Contrast Methods
  • Functional MRI (fMRI) Methods
  • Methods and Engineering, CMRO2
  • Methods and Engineering, Normal brain
  • Neurological
  • Susceptibility weighted imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Susceptibility-based time-resolved whole-organ and regional tissue oximetry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this