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Combining Direct 3D Volume Rendering and Magnetic Particle Imaging to Advance Radiation-Free Real-Time 3D Guidance of Vascular Interventions



Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is a novel tomographic radiation-free imaging technique that combines high spatial resolution and real-time capabilities, making it a promising tool to guide vascular interventions. Immediate availability of 3D image data is a major advantage over the presently used digital subtraction angiography (DSA), but new methods for real-time image analysis and visualization are also required to take full advantage of the MPI properties. This laboratory study illustrates respective techniques by means of three different patient-specific 3D vascular flow models.

Material and Methods

The selected models corresponded to typical anatomical intervention sites. Routine patient cases and image data were selected, relevant vascular territories segmented, 3D models generated and then 3D-printed. Printed models were used to perform case-specific MPI imaging. The resulting MPI images, direct volume rendering (DVR)-based fast 3D visualization options, and their suitability to advance vascular interventions were evaluated and compared to conventional DSA.


The experiments illustrated the feasibility and potential to enhance image interpretation during interventions by using MPI real-time volumetric imaging and problem-tailored DVR-based fast (approximately 30 frames/s) 3D visualization options. These options included automated viewpoint selection and cutaway views. The image enhancement potential is especially relevant for complex geometries (e.g., in the presence of superposed vessels).


The unique features of the as-yet preclinical imaging modality MPI render it promising for guidance of vascular interventions. Advanced fast DVR could help to fulfill this promise by intuitive visualization of the 3D intervention scene in real time.

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We acknowledge funding by the German Research Foundation (Grant Number KN 1108/2-1) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Grant Numbers 05M16GKA, 13XP5060B).

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Correspondence to René Werner.

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Conflict of interest

René Werner receives a research grant from Siemens Healthcare GmbH (not related to present study). Tobias Knopp receives a research grant from Philips GmbH Innovative Technologies (not related to the present study).

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Weller, D., Salamon, J.M., Frölich, A. et al. Combining Direct 3D Volume Rendering and Magnetic Particle Imaging to Advance Radiation-Free Real-Time 3D Guidance of Vascular Interventions. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 43, 322–330 (2020).

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  • Magnetic particle imaging
  • Vascular imaging
  • 4D visualization
  • Real-time image processing