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Insight into the dynamics of blood-flow considerably improves the understanding of the complex cardiovascular system and its pathologies. Advances in MRI technology enable acquisition of 4D blood-flow data, providing quantitative blood-flow velocities over time. The currently typical slice-by-slice analysis requires a full mental reconstruction of the unsteady blood-flow field, which is a tedious and highly challenging task, even for skilled physicians. We endeavor to alleviate this task by means of comprehensive visualization and interaction techniques. In this paper we present a framework for pre-clinical cardiovascular research, providing tools to both interactively explore the 4D blood-flow data and depict the essential blood-flow characteristics. The framework encompasses a variety of visualization styles, comprising illustrative techniques as well as improved methods from the established field of flow visualization. Each of the incorporated styles, including exploded planar reformats, flow-direction highlights, and arrow-trails, locally captures the blood-flow dynamics and may be initiated by an interactively probed vessel cross-section. Additionally, we present the results of an evaluation with domain experts, measuring the value of each of the visualization styles and related rendering parameters.
Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:16 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2010