Punithakumar K, Hareendranathan AR, McNulty A, Biamonte M, He A, Noga M, Boulanger P, Becher H
Ultrasound Med Biol 2016 08;42(8):1998-2009
Recent advances in echocardiography allow real-time 3-D dynamic image acquisition of the heart. However, one of the major limitations of 3-D echocardiography is the limited field of view, which results in an acquisition insufficient to cover the whole geometry of the heart. This study proposes the novel approach of fusing multiple 3-D echocardiography images using an optical tracking system that incorporates breath-hold position tracking to infer that the heart remains at the same position during different acquisitions. In six healthy male volunteers, 18 pairs of apical/parasternal 3-D ultrasound data sets were acquired during a single breath-hold as well as in subsequent breath-holds. The proposed method yielded a field of view improvement of 35.4 ± 12.5%. To improve the quality of the fused image, a wavelet-based fusion algorithm was developed that computes pixelwise likelihood values for overlapping voxels from multiple image views. The proposed wavelet-based fusion approach yielded significant improvement in contrast (66.46 ± 21.68%), contrast-to-noise ratio (49.92 ± 28.71%), signal-to-noise ratio (57.59 ± 47.85%) and feature count (13.06 ± 7.44%) in comparison to individual views.