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Presents a validation study of an optical-flow method for the rapid estimation of myocardial displacement in magnetic resonance tagged cardiac images. This registration and change visualization (RCV) software uses a hierarchical estimation technique to compute the flow field that describes the warping of an image of one cardiac phase into alignment with the next. This method overcomes the requirement of constant pixel intensity in standard optical-flow methods by preprocessing the input images to reduce any intensity bias which results from the reduction in stripe contrast throughout the cardiac cycle. To validate the method, SPAMM-tagged images were acquired of a silicon gel phantom with simulated rotational motion. The pixel displacement was estimated with the RCV method and the error in pixel tracking was <4% 1000 ms after application of the tags, and after 30° of rotation. An additional study was performed using a SPAMM-tagged multiphase slice of a canine left ventricle. The true displacement was determined using a previously validated active contour model (snakes). The error between methods was 6.7% at end systole. The RCV method has the advantage of tracking all pixels in the image in a substantially shorter period than the snakes method.