Skip to Main Content
Interpretation of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is problematic due to complexities of vascular shape and to artifacts such as the partial volume effect. The authors present new methods to assist in the interpretation of MRA. These include methods for detection of vessel paths and for determination of branching patterns of vascular trees. They are based on the ordered region growing (ORG) algorithm that represents the image as an acyclic graph, which can be reduced to a skeleton by specifying vessel endpoints or by a pruning process. Ambiguities in the vessel branching due to vessel overlap are effectively resolved by heuristic methods that incorporate a priori knowledge of bifurcation spacing. Vessel paths are detected at interactive speeds on a 500-MHz processor using vessel endpoints. These methods apply best to smaller vessels where the image intensity peaks at the center of the lumen which, for the abdominal MRA, includes vessels whose diameter is less than 1 cm.