24 February 2012 Adaptive volume rendering of cardiac 3D ultrasound images: utilizing blood pool statistics
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In this paper we introduce and investigate an adaptive direct volume rendering (DVR) method for real-time visualization of cardiac 3D ultrasound. DVR is commonly used in cardiac ultrasound to visualize interfaces between tissue and blood. However, this is particularly challenging with ultrasound images due to variability of the signal within tissue as well as variability of noise signal within the blood pool. Standard DVR involves a global mapping of sample values to opacity by an opacity transfer function (OTF). While a global OTF may represent the interface correctly in one part of the image, it may result in tissue dropouts, or even artificial interfaces within the blood pool in other parts of the image. In order to increase correctness of the rendered image, the presented method utilizes blood pool statistics to do regional adjustments of the OTF. The regional adaptive OTF was compared with a global OTF in a dataset of apical recordings from 18 subjects. For each recording, three renderings from standard views (apical 4-chamber (A4C), inverted A4C (IA4C) and mitral valve (MV)) were generated for both methods, and each rendering was tuned to the best visual appearance by a physician echocardiographer. For each rendering we measured the mean absolute error (MAE) between the rendering depth buffer and a validated left ventricular segmentation. The difference d in MAE between the global and regional method was calculated and t-test results are reported with significant improvements for the regional adaptive method (dA4C = 1.5 ± 0.3 mm, dIA4C = 2.5 ± 0.4 mm, dMV = 1.7 ± 0.2 mm, d.f. = 17, all p < 0.001). This improvement by the regional adaptive method was confirmed through qualitative visual assessment by an experienced physician echocardiographer who concluded that the regional adaptive method produced rendered images with fewer tissue dropouts and less spurious structures inside the blood pool in the vast majority of the renderings. The algorithm has been implemented on a GPU, running an average of 16 fps with a resolution of 512x512x100 samples (Nvidia GTX460).
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Jon Petter Åsen, Jon Petter Åsen, Erik Steen, Erik Steen, Gabriel Kiss, Gabriel Kiss, Anders Thorstensen, Anders Thorstensen, Stein Inge Rabben, Stein Inge Rabben, "Adaptive volume rendering of cardiac 3D ultrasound images: utilizing blood pool statistics", Proc. SPIE 8320, Medical Imaging 2012: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy, 832008 (24 February 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.911645; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.911645

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