Quantification and Visualization of Cardiovascular Function using Ultrasound
Sammanfattning: There is a large need for accurate methods detecting cardiovascular diseases, since they are one of the leading causes of mortality in the world, accounting for 29.3% of all deaths. Due to the complexity of the cardiovascular system, it is very challenging to develop methods for quantification of its function in order to diagnose, prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. Ultrasound is a technique allowing for inexpensive, noninvasive imaging, but requires an experienced echocardiographer. Nowadays, methods like Tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) and Speckle tracking imaging (STI), measuring motion and deformation in the myocardium and the vessel walls, are getting more common in routine clinical practice, but without a proper visualization of the data provided by these methods, they are time-consuming and difficult to interpret. Thus, the general aim of this thesis was to develop novel ultrasound-based methods for accurate quantification and easily interpretable visualization of cardiovascular function.Five methods based on TDI and STI were developed in the present studies. The first study comprised development of a method for generation of bull’s-eye plots providing a color-coded two-dimensional visualization of myocardial longitudinal velocities. The second study proposed the state diagram of the heart as a new circular visualization tool for cardiac mechanics, including segmental color-coding of cardiac time intervals. The third study included development of a method describing the rotation pattern of the left ventricle by calculating rotation axes at different levels of the left ventricle throughout the cardiac cycle. In the fourth study, deformation data from the artery wall were tested as input to wave intensity analysis providing information of the ventricular – arterial interaction. The fifth study included an in-silico feasibility study to test the assessment of both radial and longitudinal strain in a kinematic model of the carotid artery.The studies showed promising results indicating that the methods have potential for the detection of different cardiovascular diseases and are feasible for use in the clinical setting. However, further development of the methods and both quantitative comparison of user dependency, accuracy and ease of use with other established methods evaluating cardiovascular function, as well as additional testing of the clinical potential in larger study populations, are needed.
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