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Imaging and analyzing the human vascular system is of paramount importance in a variety of clinical applications. Determination and assessment of vessel morphology and topology is crucial for diagnosing, treatment, outcome prediction, and surgical planning. In neurosurgery, for example, blood vessels must be frequently occluded during an intervention. If insufficient collateral circulation exists, the risk of stroke may be excessive to perform the intervention. Clearly, assessment of the available vascular connections is necessary for effective surgical planning. Similarly, qualitative visualization and quantitative assessment of vessel lumen morphology and function is important when dealing with aneurismal or stenotic changes of the vasculature. Quantitative lumen measurements are also needed for sizing of intravascular catheters and other interventional devices. In many cases, the clinically required information is not limited to the lumen but includes the vessel wall as well. In such situations, decision making may be influenced if information is available about wall thickness, plaque presence, its composition, vulnerability, etc. Last but not least, vessel lumen and wall morphology and function can be used for early determination and prediction of cardiovascular disease.
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