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Interactive Virtual Probing of 4D MRI Blood-Flow

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7 Author(s)
van Pelt, R. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Eindhoven Univ. of Technol., Eindhoven, Netherlands ; Olivan Bescos, J. ; Breeuwer, M. ; Clough, R.E.
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Better understanding of hemodynamics conceivably leads to improved diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, an elaborate analysis of the blood-flow in heart and thoracic arteries is essential. Contemporary MRI techniques enable acquisition of quantitative time-resolved flow information, resulting in 4D velocity fields that capture the blood-flow behavior. Visual exploration of these fields provides comprehensive insight into the unsteady blood-flow behavior, and precedes a quantitative analysis of additional blood-flow parameters. The complete inspection requires accurate segmentation of anatomical structures, encompassing a time-consuming and hard-to-automate process, especially for malformed morphologies. We present a way to avoid the laborious segmentation process in case of qualitative inspection, by introducing an interactive virtual probe. This probe is positioned semi-automatically within the blood-flow field, and serves as a navigational object for visual exploration. The difficult task of determining position and orientation along the view-direction is automated by a fitting approach, aligning the probe with the orientations of the velocity field. The aligned probe provides an interactive seeding basis for various flow visualization approaches. We demonstrate illustration-inspired particles, integral lines and integral surfaces, conveying distinct characteristics of the unsteady blood-flow. Lastly, we present the results of an evaluation with domain experts, valuing the practical use of our probe and flow visualization techniques.

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Visualization and Computer Graphics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 12 )