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Theses Doctoral

Analysis of strain in the human left ventricle using real-time 3D echocardiography and optical flow

Gamarnik, Viktor

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) consistently ranks among the leading causes of death in the United States. The most common subtype of CVD, ischemic heart disease, is a frequent precursor of myocardial infarction and heart failure, most commonly affecting the left ventricle (LV). Today, echocardiography is regarded as the gold standard in screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of LV dysfunction. But while global assessment of LV function tends to be quantitative, cardiologists with specific expertise still perform many regional evaluations subjectively. However, a more objective and quantitative measure of regional function – myocardial strain – has been developed and widely studied using 2D echocardiography.
With recent developments in real-time 3D echocardiography (RT3DE), it has become possible to measure strain in its native 3D orientation as well. Our laboratory’s earlier work introduced the Optical Flow (OF) method of strain analysis, which was validated on simulated echocardiograms as well as through animal studies. The principal goal of this thesis is to translate this OF-based method of strain estimation from the research setting to the patient’s bedside.
We have performed a series of studies to evaluate the feasibility, accuracy, and reproducibility of OF-based myocardial strain estimation in a routine clinical setting. The first investigation focused on the optimization of RT3DE acquisition and the OF processing pipeline for use in human subjects. Subsequently, we evaluated the capacity of this technique to distinguish abnormal strain patterns in patients with CVD and varying degrees of LV dysfunction. Our analysis revealed that segmental strain measures obtained by OF may have better sensitivity and specificity than the more commonly used global LV strains. Our third validation study examined the reproducibility of these strain measures in both healthy and diseased populations. We established that OF-based strain measures demonstrate repeatability comparable to that achieved by the latest commercial software commonly used in clinical research to estimate 2D or 3D strain.
These studies were driven in large part by the absence of a ground truth or accepted gold standard of 3D strain measurements in the human LV. However, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging has had considerable success in measuring some forms of strain in the human LV. We therefore began to develop an image-processing pipeline to derive strain estimates from a new pulse sequence called 3D-DENSE. We further sought to improve the OF pipeline by automating the process of tracking the LV border. To this end, we developed a level-set based technique which tracks the LV endocardium. Our evaluation of its performance on RT3DE data confirmed that this method performs within the limits of inter-observer variability.
Overall, our pilot studies of OF-based strain estimation demonstrate that the technique possesses several promising features for improving cardiologists’ ability to quantify and interpret the complex three-dimensional deformations of the human LV.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Laine, Andrew F.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 7, 2016