Automatic segmentation of wall structures from cardiac images
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One important topic in medical image analysis is segmenting wall structures from different cardiac medical imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This task is typically done by radiologists either manually or semi-automatically, which is a very time-consuming process. To reduce the laborious human efforts, automatic methods have become popular in this research. In this thesis, features insensitive to data variations are explored to segment the ventricles from CT images and extract the left atrium from MR images. As applications, the segmentation results are used to facilitate cardiac disease analysis. Specifically, 1. An automatic method is proposed to extract the ventricles from CT images by integrating surface decomposition with contour evolution techniques. In particular, the ventricles are first identified on a surface extracted from patient-specific image data. Then, the contour evolution is employed to refine the identified ventricles. The proposed method is robust to variations of ventricle shapes, volume coverages, and image quality. 2. A variational region-growing method is proposed to segment the left atrium from MR images. Because of the localized property of this formulation, the proposed method is insensitive to data variabilities that are hard to handle by globalized methods. 3. In applications, a geometrical computational framework is proposed to estimate the myocardial mass at risk caused by stenoses. In addition, the segmentation of the left atrium is used to identify scars for MR images of post-ablation.