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Contrast enhanced ultrasound imaging provides a real-time tool for evaluating vasculature in the liver. Primary liver cancer is known to be perfused exclusively by blood from the hepatic artery, whereas normal liver is also supplied by the portal vein. Visual separation of two different phases of enhancement from the independent feeding vessels is important for diagnosis but remains a challenge. This paper presents a method of using factor analysis for extracting distinct time-intensity curves. A key component to this extraction is the clustering of measured bolus curves and their projection onto a positivity domain to obtain nonnegative curves. This technique provides complementary images representing spatial loadings on each curve. As little as 1% of the data is required to contain unmixed signals to extract time-intensity curves that correlate well with true curves. A method of combining this information to display a regional hepatic perfusion image is proposed, and results are tested on a set of 10 patients. Region of interest analysis suggests it is possible to detect changes in the hepatic perfusion index of liver lesions relative to normal liver parenchyma using contrast ultrasound.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2008