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Quantitative functional analysis of the left ventricle plays a very important role in the diagnosis of heart diseases. While in standard two-dimensional echocardiography this quantification is limited to rather crude volume estimation, three-dimensional (3-D) echocardiography not only significantly improves its accuracy but also makes it possible to derive valuable additional information, like various wall-motion measurements. In this paper, we present a new efficient method for the functional evaluation of the left ventricle from 3-D echographic sequences. It comprises a segmentation step that is based on the integration of 3-D deformable surfaces and a four-dimensional statistical heart motion model. The segmentation results in an accurate 3-D + time left ventricle discrete representation. Functional descriptors like local wall-motion indexes are automatically derived from this representation. The method has been successfully tested both on electrocardiography-gated and real-time 3-D data. It has proven to be fast, accurate, and robust.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2002