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Patient-specific Modeling of the Heart: Estimation of Ventricular Fiber Orientations

Published: January 8th, 2013



1Institute for Computational Medicine and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

A methodology to estimate ventricular fiber orientations from in vivo images of patient heart geometries for personalized modeling is described. Validation of the methodology performed using normal and failing canine hearts demonstrate that that there are no significant differences between estimated and acquired fiber orientations at a clinically observable level.

Patient-specific simulations of heart (dys)function aimed at personalizing cardiac therapy are hampered by the absence of in vivo imaging technology for clinically acquiring myocardial fiber orientations. The objective of this project was to develop a methodology to estimate cardiac fiber orientations from in vivo images of patient heart geometries. An accurate representation of ventricular geometry and fiber orientations was reconstructed, respectively, from high-resolution ex vivo structural magnetic resonance (MR) and diffusion tensor (DT) MR images of a normal human heart, referred to as the atlas. Ventricular geometry of a patient heart was extracted, via semiautomatic segmentation, from an in vivo computed tomography (CT) image. Using image transformation algorithms, the atlas ventricular geometry was deformed to match that of the patient. Finally, the deformation field was applied to the atlas fiber orientations to obtain an estimate of patient fiber orientations. The accuracy of the fiber estimates was assessed using six normal and three failing canine hearts. The mean absolute difference between inclination angles of acquired and estimated fiber orientations was 15.4 °. Computational simulations of ventricular activation maps and pseudo-ECGs in sinus rhythm and ventricular tachycardia indicated that there are no significant differences between estimated and acquired fiber orientations at a clinically observable level.The new insights obtained from the project will pave the way for the development of patient-specific models of the heart that can aid physicians in personalized diagnosis and decisions regarding electrophysiological interventions.

The computational approach is becoming central to the advancement of the understanding of the function of the heart in health and disease. State-of-the-art whole-heart models of electrophysiology and electromechanics are currently being used to study a wide range of phenomena, such as normal ventricular propagation, arrhythmia, defibrillation, electromechanical coupling, and cardiac resynchronization1. However, for the computational approach to be directly applicable in the clinical environment, it is imperative that the models be patient-specific, i.e. the models must be based on the specific architecture and electrophysiological or elect....

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1. Fiber Orientations Estimation

  1. Acquire structural MRI and DTMRI images of a normal adult human heart in diastole, at a resolution of 1 mm3. Using ImageJ, extract the ventricular myocardium from the atlas structural image by fitting, for each short-axis slice, closed splines through a set of landmark points placed along the epicardial and endocardial boundaries in the slice (Figure 2A & Figure 2B). Perform the placement of landmark points manually for.......

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Figure 11, A-C displays streamlined visualizations of estimated as well as DTMRI-derived fiber orientations in normal and failing hearts. Qualitative examination shows that estimated fiber orientations align well with DTMRI-derived ones. Panel D illustrates, overlaid on the geometry of heart 1, the distribution of error in normal hearts' inclination angles, averaged across all five estimates. Panel E shows the mean distribution of error in failing hearts' inclination angles, overlaid on the geomet.......

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This research demonstrates quantitatively that, in the absence of DTMRI, myocardial fiber orientations of normal and failing ventricles can be estimated from in-vivo images of their geometries for use in simulations of cardiac electrophysiology. The proposed methodology is demonstrated with in vivo CT data, but it is equally applicable to in vivo MR images of ventricular geometry, addressing the lack of ability to directly acquire patient fiber orientations. It is thus an important step .......

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We thank Drs. Raimond Winslow, Elliot McVeigh, and Patrick Helm at Johns Hopkins University for providing the ex vivo datasets online.This research was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01-HL082729, and National Science Foundation grant CBET-0933029.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
LDDMM Johns Hopkins University
MATLAB Mathworks, Inc. R2011b
ImageJ National Institutes of Health
Tarantula CAE Software Solutions
CARP CardioSolv
Canine images Johns Hopkins University

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