Visualization of Through-Plane Blood Flow Measurements Obtained from Phase-Contrast MRI
The purpose of this work was to develop a visualization method for concurrent observation of both velocity and magnitude data obtained from through-plane velocity measurements using phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging. Magnitude and velocity images were combined using an opacity transfer function (OTF) where the opacity was a function of a velocity range defined by the velocity encoding (v enc) parameter. Measured velocities were color-coded according to a predefined color scale and then combined into one image with the gray-scale magnitude image according to the OTF. In the combined images, simultaneous information of velocity and anatomy was presented. The proposed visualization method facilitated the understanding of how the measured blood flow was related to the underlying anatomy. Results are shown where the method is used to visualize blood flow measurements in the ascending aorta and the aortic valve. Adjustments of the OTF render possible identification of the peak velocities and their localization. Forward and backward blood flow is easily shown when applying appropriate OTF and color-coding. An advantage when using the proposed method is the ability of developing standardized protocol settings since the velocity information is quantitative and not relative as is the case for data obtained from the magnitude images. The intended application of the visualization method is the analysis of common flow studies used in the diagnosis of different cardiovascular diseases.
Key wordsMagnetic resonance imaging image visualization digital image management MR imaging user interface
This work has been supported by the Research Committee of Örebro County Council. This project is part of the program NovaMedTech, financed by the European Union—European Regional Development Fund. The authors gratefully acknowledge Terence Kearey for the constructive comments on the text.
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