Automatic Characterization of Myocardial Perfusion in Contrast Enhanced MRI
© Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation 2003
Received: 29 January 2002
Published: 14 April 2003
The use of contrast medium in cardiac MRI allows joining the high-resolution anatomical information provided by standard magnetic resonance with functional information obtained by means of the perfusion of contrast agent in myocardial tissues. The current approach to perfusion MRI characterization is the qualitative one, based on visual inspection of images. Moving to quantitative analysis requires extraction of numerical indices of myocardium perfusion by analysis of time/intensity curves related to the area of interest. The main problem in quantitative image sequence analysis is the heart movement, mainly due to patient respiration. We propose an automatic procedure based on image registration, segmentation of the myocardium, and extraction and analysis of time/intensity curves. The procedure requires a minimal user interaction, is robust with respect to the user input, and allows effective characterization of myocardial perfusion. The algorithm was tested on cardiac MR images acquired from voluntaries and in clinical routine.