Three-dimensional modeling and assessment of cardiac adipose tissue distribution.

Jon D. Klingensmith, Saygin Sop, Mete Naz, Maria Fernandez-del-Valle, H. Felix Lee


Objective: The layer of fat that accumulates around the heart, called cardiac adipose tissue (CAT), can influence the development of coronary disease and is indicative of cardiovascular risk. While volumetric assessment of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can quantify CAT, volume alone gives no information about its distribution across the myocardial surface, which may be an important factor in risk assessment. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) modeling technique is developed and used to quantify the distribution of the CAT across the surface of the heart.

Methods: Dixon MRI scans, which produce a registered 3D set of fat-only and water-only images, were acquired in 10 subjects for a study on exercise intervention. A previously developed segmentation algorithm was used to identify the heart and CAT. Extracted contours were used to build 3D models. Procrustes analysis was used to register the heart models and an iterative closest point algorithm was used to register and align the CAT models for calculation of CAT thickness. Rays were cast in directions specified by a spherical parameterization of elevation and azimuthal angles, and intersections of the ray with the CAT surface were used to calculate the thickness at each location. To evaluate the effects of the spherical parameterization on the thickness estimates, a set of synthetic models were created with increasing major-to-minor axis ratios.

Results: Based on the validation in the synthetic models, the average error in CAT thickness ranged from 1.25% to 17.3% for increasing major-to-minor axis ratio.

Conclusions: A process was developed, based on Dixon MRI data, to provide 3D models of the myocardial surface and the cardiac fat. The models can be used in future segmentation algorithm development and for studies on changes in cardiac fat as a result of various interventions.

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Journal of Biomedical Graphics and Computing    ISSN 1925-4008 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4016 (Online)

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