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Myocardium segmentation in Strain-Encoded (SENC) magnetic resonance images using graph-cuts

Myocardium segmentation in Strain-Encoded (SENC) magnetic resonance images using graph-cuts

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Evaluation of cardiac functions using Strain Encoded (SENC) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is a powerful tool for imaging the deformation of left and right ventricles. However, automated analysis of SENC images is hindered due to the low signal-to-noise ratio SENC images. In this work, the authors propose a method to segment the left and right ventricles myocardium simultaneously in SENC-MR short-axis images. In addition, myocardium seed points are automatically selected using skeletonisation algorithm and used as hard constraints for the graph-cut optimization algorithm. The method is based on a modified formulation of the graph-cuts energy term. In the new formulation, a signal probabilistic model is used, rather than the image histogram, to capture the characteristics of the blood and tissue signals and include it in the cost function of the graph-cuts algorithm. The method is applied to SENC datasets for 11 human subjects (five normal and six patients with known myocardial wall motion abnormality). The segmentation results of the proposed method are compared with those resulting from both manual segmentation and the conventional histogram-based graph-cuts segmentation algorithm. The results show that the proposed method outperforms the histogram-based graph-cuts algorithm especially to segment the thin structure of the right ventricle.

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