Cochlear implants (CIs) are considered standard treatment for patients who experience sensorineural hearing loss. Although these devices have been remarkably successful at restoring hearing, it is rare to achieve natural fidelity, and many patients experience poor outcomes. Our group has developed the first image-guided CI programming (IGCIP) technique where the positions of the electrodes are found in CT images and used to estimate neural activation patterns, which is unique information that audiologists can use to define patient-specific processor settings. In our current system, neural activation is estimated using only the distance from each electrode to the neural activation sites. This approach might be less accurate than using a high-resolution electro-anatomical model (EAM) of the electrically stimulated cochlea to perform physics-based estimation of neural activation. In this work, we propose a patientcustomized EAM approach where the EAM is spatially and electrically adapted to a patient-specific configuration. Spatial adaptation is done through non-rigid registration of the model with the patient CT image. Electrical adaptation is done by adjusting tissue resistivity parameters so that the intra-cochlear voltage distributions predicted by the model best match those directly measured for the patient via their implant. We demonstrated our approach for N=7 patients. We found that our approach results in mean percent differences between direct and simulated measurements of voltage distributions of 11%. In addition, visual comparison shows the simulated and measured voltage distributions are qualitatively in good agreement. This represents a crucial step toward developing and validating the first in vivo patient-specific cochlea EAMs.
Ahmet Cakir, Robert T. Dwyer, and Jack H. Noble, "Evaluation of a high-resolution patient-specific model of the electrically stimulated cochlea," Proc. SPIE 10135, Medical Imaging 2017: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling, 101350M (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 15, 2017; Published: 3 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256005.
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