Background: A detailed contrast bolus propagation model is essential for optimizing bolus-chasing Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA). Bolus characteristics were studied using bolus-timing datasets from Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) for adaptive controller design and validation. Methods: MRA bolus-timing datasets of the aorta in thirty patients were analyzed by a program developed with MATLAB. Bolus characteristics, such as peak position, dispersion and bolus velocity, were studied. The bolus profile was fit to a convolution function, which would serve as a mathematical model of bolus propagation in future controller design. Results: The maximum speed of the bolus in the aorta ranged from 5-13 cm/ s and the dwell time ranged from 7-13 seconds. Bolus characteristics were well described by the proposed propagation model, which included the exact functional relationships between the parameters and aortic location. Conclusion: The convolution function describes bolus dynamics reasonably well and could be used to implement the adaptive controller design.