Fused echoes see whole heart

Aug 11, 2010

A new way of combining ultrasound images taken from different positions can result in sharper, better quality 3D images of the heart to help doctors make a diagnosis.

The new technique aims to improve on conventional 3D echocardiography which is not yet routinely used, partly because of problems with the quality of images produced and difficulties in imaging the whole heart.

A team of Oxford University biomedical engineers and cardiologists has developed a way of merging 3D data from ultrasound transducers placed in different positions on a patient’s body. The researchers recently reported in the journal JACC Cardiovascular Imaging that, in a pilot study of 32 people, this boosted the quality of good/intermediate quality images of the heart from 70% with existing methods to over 96%.

‘For the first time we’ve shown in a detailed clinical study how fusion of 3D data from different positions can improve the quality and completeness of the final image,’ Alison Noble of Oxford University’s Department of Engineering Science, a co-author of the report, tells me.

‘Our new technique saw significant improvements in the general image quality and the definition of features within the heart which should make it possible to spot even small abnormalities in, for example, the motion of the heart wall,’ adds Harald Becher of Oxford University’s Department of .

The team's method is based on ‘voxels’ - 3D units of data similar to the 2D pixels on a TV screen. By matching similar-looking voxels of data from different positions it is possible to calculate the ‘best fit’ of a sequence of individual frames. This alignment is then applied first across ‘downgraded’ low-resolution images before these are ‘upgraded’ again to their original high-resolution - saving computation time.

‘This new approach is an exciting advance in echocardiography, as it enables us to see the sort of complete picture we weren’t able to before,’ Harald explains. ‘For instance, in this study a number of the participants were Oxford rowers with very large left ventricles which could not be imaged from a single position. By fusing our data we were able to produce accurate three-dimensional images of the entire heart within seconds.’

The team say these preliminary results are encouraging, although further studies are needed with larger groups of patients. The researchers hope their approach could lead to a greater use of 3D echocardiography in the future and are currently looking at how it could be combined with other imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging.

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

More information: imaging.onlinejacc.org/cgi/con… ent/abstract/3/7/682

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cardiac ultrasound imaging goes to handheld

Sep 02, 2008

Non-invasive imaging has revolutionized the diagnosis of the most common cardiac diseases such as valve problems and coronary heart disease. In addition, imaging techniques are developing rapidly and we anticipate that non-invasive ...

Duke engineers develop new 3-D cardiac imaging probe

May 26, 2005

Biomedical engineers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering have created a new three-dimensional ultrasound cardiac imaging probe. Inserted inside the esophagus, the probe creates a picture of the whole heart in ...

World's Highest Resolution 3D Images

Aug 31, 2004

NEC Corporation today announced that it has succeeded in the development of a novel 3D system-on-glass ("SOG") liquid crystal display ("LCD") that can display the world's highest resolution 3D images. NEC's original Horizontally Double-Density Pi ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

Oct 24, 2014

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

Oct 24, 2014

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0