In daily cardiology practice, assessment of left ventricular (LV) global function using non-invasive imaging remains central for the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with cardiovascular diseases. Despite the different methodologies currently accessible for LV segmentation in cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) images, a fast and complete LV delineation is still limitedly available for routine use.
In this study, a localized anatomically constrained affine optical flow method is proposed for fast and automatic LV tracking throughout the full cardiac cycle in short-axis CMR images. Starting from an automatically delineated LV in the end-diastolic frame, the endocardial and epicardial boundaries are propagated by estimating the motion between adjacent cardiac phases using optical flow. In order to reduce the computational burden, the motion is only estimated in an anatomical region of interest around the tracked boundaries and subsequently integrated into a local affine motion model. Such localized estimation enables to capture complex motion patterns, while still being spatially consistent.
The method was validated on 45 CMR datasets taken from the 2009 MICCAI LV segmentation challenge. The proposed approach proved to be robust and efficient, with an average distance error of 2.1 mm and a correlation with reference ejection fraction of 0.98 (1.9 ± 4.5%). Moreover, it showed to be fast, taking 5 seconds for the tracking of a full 4D dataset (30 ms per image). Overall, a novel fast, robust and accurate LV tracking methodology was proposed, enabling accurate assessment of relevant global function cardiac indices, such as volumes and ejection fraction
While fluoroscopy is still the most widely used imaging modality to guide cardiac interventions, the fusion of pre-operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with real-time intra-operative ultrasound (US) is rapidly gaining clinical acceptance as a viable, radiation-free alternative. In order to improve the detection of the left ventricular (LV) surface in 4D ultrasound, we propose to take advantage of the pre-operative MRI scans to extract a realistic geometrical model representing the patients cardiac anatomy. This could serve as prior information in the interventional setting, allowing to increase the accuracy of the anatomy extraction step in US data. We have made use of a real-time 3D segmentation framework used in the recent past to solve the LV segmentation problem in MR and US data independently and we take advantage of this common link to introduce the prior information as a soft penalty term in the ultrasound segmentation algorithm. We tested the proposed algorithm in a clinical dataset of 38 patients undergoing both MR and US scans. The introduction of the personalized shape prior improves the accuracy and robustness of the LV segmentation, as supported by the error reduction when compared to core lab manual segmentation of the same US sequences.
Given the dynamic nature of cardiac function, correct temporal alignment of pre-operative models and intraoperative images is crucial for augmented reality in cardiac image-guided interventions. As such, the current study focuses on the development of an image-based strategy for temporal alignment of multimodal cardiac imaging sequences, such as cine Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or 3D Ultrasound (US). First, we derive a robust, modality-independent signal from the image sequences, estimated by computing the normalized cross-correlation between each frame in the temporal sequence and the end-diastolic frame. This signal is a resembler for the left-ventricle (LV) volume curve over time, whose variation indicates different temporal landmarks of the cardiac cycle. We then perform the temporal alignment of these surrogate signals derived from MRI and US sequences of the same patient through Dynamic Time Warping (DTW), allowing to synchronize both sequences. The proposed framework was evaluated in 98 patients, which have undergone both 3D+t MRI and US scans. The end-systolic frame could be accurately estimated as the minimum of the image-derived surrogate signal, presenting a relative error of 1.6 ± 1.9% and 4.0 ± 4.2% for the MRI and US sequences, respectively, thus supporting its association with key temporal instants of the cardiac cycle. The use of DTW reduces the desynchronization of the cardiac events in MRI and US sequences, allowing to temporally align multimodal cardiac imaging sequences. Overall, a generic, fast and accurate method for temporal synchronization of MRI and US sequences of the same patient was introduced. This approach could be straightforwardly used for the correct temporal alignment of pre-operative MRI information and intra-operative US images.
One of the current frontiers in the clinical management of Pectus Excavatum (PE) patients is the prediction of the surgical outcome prior to the intervention. This can be done through computerized simulation of the Nuss procedure, which requires an anatomically correct representation of the costal cartilage. To this end, we take advantage of the costal cartilage tubular structure to detect it through multi-scale vesselness filtering. This information is then used in an interactive 2D initialization procedure which uses anatomical maximum intensity projections of 3D vesselness feature images to efficiently initialize the 3D segmentation process. We identify the cartilage tissue centerlines in these projected 2D images using a livewire approach. We finally refine the 3D cartilage surface through region-based sparse field level-sets. We have tested the proposed algorithm in 6 noncontrast CT datasets from PE patients. A good segmentation performance was found against reference manual contouring, with an average Dice coefficient of 0.75±0.04 and an average mean surface distance of 1.69±0.30mm. The proposed method requires roughly 1 minute for the interactive initialization step, which can positively contribute to an extended use of this tool in clinical practice, since current manual delineation of the costal cartilage can take up to an hour.