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29 March 2013 Correlation-based discrimination between cardiac tissue and blood for segmentation of 3D echocardiographic images
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Automated segmentation of 3D echocardiographic images in patients with congenital heart disease is challenging, because the boundary between blood and cardiac tissue is poorly defined in some regions. Cardiologists mentally incorporate movement of the heart, using temporal coherence of structures to resolve ambiguities. Therefore, we investigated the merit of temporal cross-correlation for automated segmentation over the entire cardiac cycle. Optimal settings for maximum cross-correlation (MCC) calculation, based on a 3D cross-correlation based displacement estimation algorithm, were determined to obtain the best contrast between blood and myocardial tissue over the entire cardiac cycle. Resulting envelope-based as well as RF-based MCC values were used as additional external force in a deformable model approach, to segment the left-ventricular cavity in entire systolic phase. MCC values were tested against, and combined with, adaptive filtered, demodulated RF-data. Segmentation results were compared with manually segmented volumes using a 3D Dice Similarity Index (3DSI). Results in 3D pediatric echocardiographic images sequences (n = 4) demonstrate that incorporation of temporal information improves segmentation. The use of MCC values, either alone or in combination with adaptive filtered, demodulated RF-data, resulted in an increase of the 3DSI in 75% of the cases (average 3DSI increase: 0.71 to 0.82). Results might be further improved by optimizing MCC-contrast locally, in regions with low blood-tissue contrast. Reducing underestimation of the endocardial volume due to MCC processing scheme (choice of window size) and consequential border-misalignment, could also lead to more accurate segmentations. Furthermore, increasing the frame rate will also increase MCC-contrast and thus improve segmentation.
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Anne E. C. M. Saris, Maartje M. Nillesen, Richard G. P. Lopata, and Chris L. de Korte "Correlation-based discrimination between cardiac tissue and blood for segmentation of 3D echocardiographic images", Proc. SPIE 8675, Medical Imaging 2013: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy, 867504 (29 March 2013);

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