Endocardial Boundary E timation and Tracking in Echocardiographic Images using Deformable Template and Markov Random Fields
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We present a new approach to shape-based segmentation and tracking of deformable anatomical structures in medical images, and validate this approach by detecting and tracking the endocardial contour in an echocardiographic image sequence. To this end, some global prior shape knowledge of the endocardial boundary is captured by a prototype template with a set of predefined global and local deformations to take into account its inherent natural variability over time. In this deformable model-based Bayesian segmentation, the data likelihood model relies on an accurate statistical modelling of the grey level distribution of each class present in the ultrasound image. The parameters of this distribution mixture are given by a preliminary iterative estimation step. This estimation scheme relies on a Markov Random Field prior model, and takes into account the imaging process as well as the distribution shape of each class present in the image. Then the detection and the tracking problem is stated in a Bayesian framework, where it ends up as a cost function minimisation problem for each image of the sequence. In our application, this energy optimisation problem is efficiently solved by a genetic algorithm combined with a steepest ascent procedure. This technique has been successfully applied on synthetic images, and on a real echocardiographic image sequence.
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