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Reconstruction and Visualization of Fiber and Sheet Structure with Regularized Tensor Diffusion MRI in the Human Heart



Damien Rohmer, Arkadiusz Sitek and Grant T. Gullberg
Reconstruction and Visualization of Fiber and Sheet Structure
with Regularized Tensor Diffusion MRI in the Human Heart.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Report LBNL-60277, 2006
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Background The human heart is composed of a helical network of muscle fibers. These fibers are organized to form sheets that are separated by cleavage surfaces. This complex structure of fibers and sheets is responsible for the orthotropic mechanical properties of cardiac muscle. The understanding of the configuration of the 3D fiber and sheet structure is important for modeling the mechanical and electrical properties of the heart and changes in this configuration may be of significant importance to understand the remodeling after myocardial infarction.
Methods Anisotropic least square filtering followed by fiber and sheet tracking techniques were applied to Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DTMRI) data of the excised human heart. The fiber configuration was visualized by using thin tubes to increase 3-dimensional visual perception of the complex structure. The sheet structures were reconstructed from the DTMRI data, obtaining surfaces that span the wall from the endo- to the epicardium. All visualizations were performed using the high-quality ray-tracing software POV-Ray.
Results The fibers are shown to lie in sheets that have concave or convex transmural structure which correspond to histological studies published in the literature. The fiber angles varied depending on the position between the epi- and endocardium. The sheets had a complex structure that depended on the location within the myocardium. In the apex region the sheets had more curvature.
Conclusion A high-quality visualization algorithm applied to demonstrate high quality DTMRI data is able to elicit the comprehension of the complex 3 dimensional structure of the fibers and sheets in the heart.

keywords: Cardiac Imaging, Diffusion Tensor MRI, Fiber Tracking, Laminar Architecture, Anisotropic filtering.


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