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A common approach to model-based segmentation is to assume a top-down modelling strategy. However, this is not feasible for complex 3D +time structures, such as the cardiac left ventricle, due to increased training requirements, aligning difficulties and local minima in resulting models. As our main contribution, we present an alternate bottom-up modelling approach. By combining the variation captured in multiple dimensionally-targeted models at segmentation-time we create a scalable segmentation framework that does not suffer from the “curse of dimensionality.” Our second contribution involves a flexible contour coupling technique that allows our segmentation method to adapt to unseen contour configurations outside the training set. This is used to identify the endo- and epicardium contours of the left ventricle by coupling them at segmentation-time, instead of at model-time. We apply our approach to 33 3D+time cardiac MRI datasets and perform comprehensive evaluation against several state-of-the-art works. Quantitative evaluation illustrates that our method requires significantly less training than state-of-the-art model-based methods, while maintaining or improving segmentation accuracy.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011