We present a framework for the analysis of uncertainty in isocontour extraction. The marching squares (MS) algorithm for isocontour reconstruction generates a linear topology that is consistent with hyperbolic curves of a piecewise bilinear interpolation. The saddle points of the bilinear interpolant cause topological ambiguity in isocontour extraction. The midpoint decider and the asymptotic decider are well-known mathematical techniques for resolving topological ambiguities. The latter technique investigates the data values at the cell saddle points for ambiguity resolution. The uncertainty in data, however, leads to uncertainty in underlying bilinear interpolation functions for the MS algorithm, and hence, their saddle points. In our work, we study the behavior of the asymptotic decider when data at grid vertices is uncertain. First, we derive closed-form distributions characterizing variations in the saddle point values for uncertain bilinear interpolants. The derivation assumes uniform and nonparametric noise models, and it exploits the concept of ratio distribution for analytic formulations. Next, the probabilistic asymptotic decider is devised for ambiguity resolution in uncertain data using distributions of the saddle point values derived in the first step. Finally, the confidence in probabilistic topological decisions is visualized using a colormapping technique. We demonstrate the higher accuracy and stability of the probabilistic asymptotic decider in uncertain data with regard to existing decision frameworks, such as deciders in the mean field and the probabilistic midpoint decider, through the isocontour visualization of synthetic and real datasets.
A statistical framework for quantification and visualisation of positional uncertainty in deep brain stimulation electrodes, In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Vol. 7, No. 4, Taylor & Francis, pp. 438-449. 2019.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established therapy for treating patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Patient-specific computational modelling and visualisation have been shown to play a key role in surgical and therapeutic decisions for DBS. The computational models use brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT), to determine the DBS electrode positions within the patient’s head. The finite resolution of brain imaging, however, introduces uncertainty in electrode positions. The DBS stimulation settings for optimal patient response are sensitive to the relative positioning of DBS electrodes to a specific neural substrate (white/grey matter). In our contribution, we study positional uncertainty in the DBS electrodes for imaging with finite resolution. In a three-step approach, we first derive a closed-form mathematical model characterising the geometry of the DBS electrodes. Second, we devise a statistical framework for quantifying the uncertainty in the positional attributes of the DBS electrodes, namely the direction of longitudinal axis and the contact-centre positions at subvoxel levels. The statistical framework leverages the analytical model derived in step one and a Bayesian probabilistic model for uncertainty quantification. Finally, the uncertainty in contact-centre positions is interactively visualised through volume rendering and isosurfacing techniques. We demonstrate the efficacy of our contribution through experiments on synthetic and real datasets. We show that the spatial variations in true electrode positions are significant for finite resolution imaging, and interactive visualisation can be instrumental in exploring probabilistic positional variations in the DBS lead.
Computational models are a popular tool for predicting the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on neural tissue. One commonly used model, the volume of tissue activated (VTA), is computed using multiple methodologies. We quantified differences in the VTAs generated by five methodologies: the traditional axon model method, the electric field norm, and three activating function based approaches - the activating function at each grid point in the tangential direction (AF-Tan) or in the maximally activating direction (AF-3D), and the maximum activating function along the entire length of a tangential fiber (AF-Max).
Approach: We computed the VTA using each method across multiple stimulation settings. The resulting volumes were compared for similarity, and the methodologies were analyzed for their differences in behavior.
Main Results: Activation threshold values for both the electric field norm and the activating function vary with regards to electrode configuration, pulse width, and frequency. All methods produced highly similar volumes for monopolar stimulation. For bipolar electrode configurations, only the maximum activating function along the tangential axon method, AF-Max, produced similar volumes to those produced by the axon model method. Further analysis revealed that both of these methods are biased by their exclusive use of tangential fiber orientations. In contrast, the activating function in the maximally activating direction method, AF-3D, produces a VTA that is free of axon orientation and projection bias.
Significance: Simulating tangentially oriented axons, the standard approach of computing the VTA, is too computationally expensive for widespread implementation and yields results biased by the assumption of tangential fiber orientation. In this work, we show that a computationally efficient method based on the activating function, AF-Max, reliably reproduces the VTAs generated by direct axon modeling. Further, we propose another method, AF-3D as a potentially superior model for representing generic neural tissue activation.
M. Han, I. Wald, W. Usher, Q. Wu, F. Wang, V. Pascicci, C. D. Hansen, C. R. Johnson. Ray Tracing Generalized Tube Primitives: Method and Applications, In Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 38, No. 3, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2019.
We present a general high-performance technique for ray tracing generalized tube primitives. Our technique efficiently supports tube primitives with fixed and varying radii, general acyclic graph structures with bifurcations, and correct transparency with interior surface removal. Such tube primitives are widely used in scientific visualization to represent diffusion tensor imaging tractographies, neuron morphologies, and scalar or vector fields of 3D flow. We implement our approach within the OSPRay ray tracing framework, and evaluate it on a range of interactive visualization use cases of fixed- and varying-radius streamlines, pathlines, complex neuron morphologies, and brain tractographies. Our proposed approach provides interactive, high-quality rendering, with low memory overhead.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) can be an effective therapy for tics and comorbidities in select cases of severe, treatment-refractory Tourette syndrome (TS). Clinical responses remain variable across patients, which may be attributed to differences in the location of the neuroanatomical regions being stimulated. We evaluated active contact locations and regions of stimulation across a large cohort of patients with TS in an effort to guide future targeting.
Interactive computation and visualization of deep brain stimulation effects using Duality, In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Taylor & Francis, 2019.J. Vorwerk, D. McCann, J. Krüger, C.R. Butson.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor. Currently, the selection of optimal stimulation settings is performed by iteratively adjusting the stimulation parameters and is a time consuming procedure that requires multiple clinic visits of several hours. Recently, computational models to predict and visualize the effect of DBS have been developed with the goal to simplify and accelerate this procedure by providing visual guidance and such models have been made available also on mobile devices. However, currently available visualization software still either lacks mobility, i.e. it is running on desktop computers and no easily available in clinical praxis, or flexibility, as the simulations that are visualized on mobile devices have to be precomputed. The goal of the pipeline presented in this paper is to close this gap: Using Duality, a newly developed software for the interactive visualization of simulation results, we implemented a pipeline that allows to compute DBS simulations in near-real time and instantaneously visualize the result on a tablet computer. We carry out a performance analysis and present the results of a case study in which the pipeline was applied.
A. Warner, J. Tate, B. Burton,, C.R. Johnson.
A High-Resolution Head and Brain Computer Model for Forward and Inverse EEG Simulation, In bioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Feb, 2019.
To conduct computational forward and inverse EEG studies of brain electrical activity, researchers must construct realistic head and brain computer models, which is both challenging and time consuming. The availability of realistic head models and corresponding imaging data is limited in terms of imaging modalities and patient diversity. In this paper, we describe a detailed head modeling pipeline and provide a high-resolution, multimodal, open-source, female head and brain model. The modeling pipeline specifically outlines image acquisition, preprocessing, registration, and segmentation; three-dimensional tetrahedral mesh generation; finite element EEG simulations; and visualization of the model and simulation results. The dataset includes both functional and structural images and EEG recordings from two high-resolution electrode configurations. The intermediate results and software components are also included in the dataset to facilitate modifications to the pipeline. This project will contribute to neuroscience research by providing a high-quality dataset that can be used for a variety of applications and a computational pipeline that may help researchers construct new head models more efficiently.
L. Zhou, D. Weiskopf, C. R. Johnson.
Perceptually guided contrast enhancement based on viewing distance, In Journal of Computer Languages, Vol. 55, Elsevier, pp. 100911. 2019.
We propose an image-space contrast enhancement method for color-encoded visualization. The contrast of an image is enhanced through a perceptually guided approach that interfaces with the user with a single and intuitive parameter of the virtual viewing distance. To this end, we analyze a multiscale contrast model of the input image and test the visibility of bandpass images of all scales at a virtual viewing distance. By adapting weights of bandpass images with a threshold model of spatial vision, this image-based method enhances contrast to compensate for contrast loss caused by viewing the image at a certain distance. Relevant features in the color image can be further emphasized by the user using overcompensation. The weights can be assigned with a simple band-based approach, or with an efficient pixel-based approach that reduces ringing artifacts. The method is efficient and can be integrated into any visualization tool as it is a generic image-based post-processing technique. Using highly diverse datasets, we show the usefulness of perception compensation across a wide range of typical visualizations.
D. N. Anderson, B. Osting, J. Vorwerk, A. D Dorval, C. R Butson. Optimized programming algorithm for cylindrical and directional deep brain stimulation electrodes, In Journal of Neural Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 026005. 2018.
Objective. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a growing treatment option for movement and psychiatric disorders. As DBS technology moves toward directional leads with increased numbers of smaller electrode contacts, trial-and-error methods of manual DBS programming are becoming too time-consuming for clinical feasibility. We propose an algorithm to automate DBS programming in near real-time for a wide range of DBS lead designs. Approach. Magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging are used to build finite element models that include anisotropic conductivity. The algorithm maximizes activation of target tissue and utilizes the Hessian matrix of the electric potential to approximate activation of neurons in all directions. We demonstrate our algorithm's ability in an example programming case that targets the subthalamic nucleus (STN) for the treatment of Parkinson's disease for three lead designs: the Medtronic 3389 (four cylindrical contacts), the direct STNAcute (two cylindrical contacts, six directional contacts), and the Medtronic-Sapiens lead (40 directional contacts). Main results. The optimization algorithm returns patient-specific contact configurations in near real-time—less than 10 s for even the most complex leads. When the lead was placed centrally in the target STN, the directional leads were able to activate over 50% of the region, whereas the Medtronic 3389 could activate only 40%. When the lead was placed 2 mm lateral to the target, the directional leads performed as well as they did in the central position, but the Medtronic 3389 activated only 2.9% of the STN. Significance. This DBS programming algorithm can be applied to cylindrical electrodes as well as novel directional leads that are too complex with modern technology to be manually programmed. This algorithm may reduce clinical programming time and encourage the use of directional leads, since they activate a larger volume of the target area than cylindrical electrodes in central and off-target lead placements.
A statistical framework for quantification and visualisation of positional uncertainty in deep brain stimulation electrodes, In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1-12. 2018.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established therapy for treating patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Patient-specific computational modelling and visualisation have been shown to play a key role in surgical and therapeutic decisions for DBS. The computational models use brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT), to determine the DBS electrode positions within the patient's head. The finite resolution of brain imaging, however, introduces uncertainty in electrode positions. The DBS stimulation settings for optimal patient response are sensitive to the relative positioning of DBS electrodes to a specific neural substrate (white/grey matter). In our contribution, we study positional uncertainty in the DBS electrodes for imaging with finite resolution. In a three-step approach, we first derive a closed-form mathematical model characterising the geometry of the DBS electrodes. Second, we devise a statistical framework for quantifying the uncertainty in the positional attributes of the DBS electrodes, namely the direction of longitudinal axis and the contact-centre positions at subvoxel levels. The statistical framework leverages the analytical model derived in step one and a Bayesian probabilistic model for uncertainty quantification. Finally, the uncertainty in contact-centre positions is interactively visualised through volume rendering and isosurfacing techniques. We demonstrate the efficacy of our contribution through experiments on synthetic and real datasets. We show that the spatial variations in true electrode positions are significant for finite resolution imaging, and interactive visualisation can be instrumental in exploring probabilistic positional variations in the DBS lead.
The biophysical basis for electrocardiographic evaluation of myocardial ischemia stems from the notion that ischemic tissues develop, with relative uniformity, along the endocardial aspects of the heart. These injured regions of subendocardial tissue give rise to intramural currents that lead to ST segment deflections within electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings. The concept of subendocardial ischemic regions is often used in clinical practice, providing a simple and intuitive description of ischemic injury; however, such a model grossly oversimplifies the presentation of ischemic disease—inadvertently leading to errors in ECG-based diagnoses. Furthermore, recent experimental studies have brought into question the subendocardial ischemia paradigm suggesting instead a more distributed pattern of tissue injury. These findings come from experiments and so have both the impact and the limitations of measurements from living organisms. Computer models have often been employed to overcome the constraints of experimental approaches and have a robust history in cardiac simulation. To this end, we have developed a computational simulation framework aimed at elucidating the effects of ischemia on measurable cardiac potentials. To validate our framework, we simulated, visualized, and analyzed 226 experimentally derived acute myocardial ischemic events. Simulation outcomes agreed both qualitatively (feature comparison) and quantitatively (correlation, average error, and significance) with experimentally obtained epicardial measurements, particularly under conditions of elevated ischemic stress. Our simulation framework introduces a novel approach to incorporating subject-specific, geometric models and experimental results that are highly resolved in space and time into computational models. We propose this framework as a means to advance the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of ischemic disease while simultaneously putting in place the computational infrastructure necessary to study and improve ischemia models aimed at reducing diagnostic errors in the clinic.
Computational models of myocardial ischemia often use oversimplified ischemic source representations to simulate epicardial potentials. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of biophysically justified, subject-specific ischemic zone representations on epicardial potentials.
We developed and implemented an image-based simulation pipeline, using intramural recordings from a canine experimental model to define subject-specific ischemic regions within the heart. Static epicardial potential distributions, reflective of ST segment deviations, were simulated and validated against measured epicardial recordings.
Simulated epicardial potential distributions showed strong statistical correlation and visual agreement with measured epicardial potentials. Additionally, we identified and described in what way border zone parameters influence epicardial potential distributions during the ST segment.
From image-based simulations of myocardial ischemia, we generated subject-specific ischemic sources that accurately replicated epicardial potential distributions. Such models are essential in understanding the underlying mechanisms of the bioelectric fields that arise during ischemia and are the basis for more sophisticated simulations of body surface ECGs.
Background: Noninvasive localization of premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) to guide ablation therapy is one of the emerging applications of electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI). Because of its increasing clinical use, it is essential to compare the many implementations of ECGI that exist to understand the specific characteristics of each approach.
Objective: Our consortium is a community of researchers aiming to collaborate in the field of ECGI, and to objectively compare and improve methods. Here, we will compare methods to localize the origin of PVCs with ECGI.
Methods: Our consortium hosts a repository of ECGI data on its website. For the current study, participants analysed simulated electrocardiograms from premature beats, freely available on that website. These PVCs were simulated to originate from eight ventricular locations and the resulting body-surface potentials were computed. These body-surface electrocardiograms (and the torso-heart geometry) were then provided to the study participants to apply their ECGI algorithms to determine the origin of the PVCs. Participants could choose freely among four different source models, i.e., representations of the bioelectric fields reconstructed from ECGI: 1) epicardial potentials (POTepi), 2) epicardial & endocardial potentials (POTepi&endo), 3) transmembrane potentials on the endocardium and epicardium (TMPepi&endo) and 4) transmembrame potentials throughout the myocardium (TMPmyo). Participants were free to employ any software implementation of ECGI and were blinded to the ground truth data.
Results: Four research groups submitted 11 entries for this study. The figure shows the localization error between the known and reconstructed origin of each PVC for each submission, categorized per source model. Each colour represents one research group and some groups submitted results using different approaches. These results demonstrate that the variation of accuracy was larger among research groups than among the source models. Most submissions achieved an error below 2 cm, but none performed with a consistent sub-centimetre accuracy.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates a successful community-based approach to study different ECGI methods for PVC localization. The goal was not to rank research groups but to compare both source models and numerical implementations. PVC localization with these methods was not as dependent on the source representation as it was on the implementation of ECGI. Consequently, ECGI validation should not be performed on generic methods, but should be specifically performed for each lab's implementation. The novelty of this study is that it achieves this in the first open, international comparison of approaches using a common set of gold standards. Continued collaborative validation is essential to understand the effect of implementation differences, in order to reach significant improvements and arrive at clinically-relevant sub-centimetre accuracy of PVC localization.
M. Cluitmans, D. H. Brooks, R. MacLeod, O. Dössel, M. S. Guillem, P. M. van Dam, J. Svehlikova, B. He, J. Sapp, L. Wang, L. Bear.
Validation and Opportunities of Electrocardiographic Imaging: From Technical Achievements to Clinical Applications, In Frontiers in Physiology, Vol. 9, Frontiers Media SA, pp. 1305. 2018.
Electrocardiographic imaging (ECGI) reconstructs the electrical activity of the heart from a dense array of body-surface electrocardiograms and a patient-specific heart-torso geometry. Depending on how it is formulated, ECGI allows the reconstruction of the activation and recovery sequence of the heart, the origin of premature beats or tachycardia, the anchors/hotspots of re-entrant arrhythmias and other electrophysiological quantities of interest. Importantly, these quantities are directly and noninvasively reconstructed in a digitized model of the patient’s three-dimensional heart, which has led to clinical interest in ECGI’s ability to personalize diagnosis and guide therapy.
Despite considerable development over the last decades, validation of ECGI is challenging. Firstly, results depend considerably on implementation choices, which are necessary to deal with ECGI’s ill-posed character. Secondly, it is challenging to obtain (invasive) ground truth data of high quality. In this review, we discuss the current status of ECGI validation as well as the major challenges remaining for complete adoption of ECGI in clinical practice.
Specifically, showing clinical benefit is essential for the adoption of ECGI. Such benefit may lie in patient outcome improvement, workflow improvement, or cost reduction. Future studies should focus on these aspects to achieve broad adoption of ECGI, but only after the technical challenges have been solved for that specific application/pathology. We propose ‘best’ practices for technical validation and highlight collaborative efforts recently organized in this field. Continued interaction between engineers, basic scientists and physicians remains essential to find a hybrid between technical achievements, pathological mechanisms insights, and clinical benefit, to evolve this powerful technique towards a useful role in clinical practice.
Targeting Neuronal Fiber Tracts for Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy Using Interactive, Patient-Specific Models, In Journal of Visualized Experiments, No. 138, MyJove Corporation, Aug, 2018.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS), which involves insertion of an electrode to deliver stimulation to a localized brain region, is an established therapy for movement disorders and is being applied to a growing number of disorders. Computational modeling has been successfully used to predict the clinical effects of DBS; however, there is a need for novel modeling techniques to keep pace with the growing complexity of DBS devices. These models also need to generate predictions quickly and accurately. The goal of this project is to develop an image processing pipeline to incorporate structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) into an interactive, patient specific model to simulate the effects of DBS. A virtual DBS lead can be placed inside of the patient model, along with active contacts and stimulation settings, where changes in lead position or orientation generate a new finite element mesh and solution of the bioelectric field problem in near real-time, a timespan of approximately 10 seconds. This system also enables the simulation of multiple leads in close proximity to allow for current steering by varying anodes and cathodes on different leads. The techniques presented in this paper reduce the burden of generating and using computational models while providing meaningful feedback about the effects of electrode position, electrode design, and stimulation configurations to researchers or clinicians who may not be modeling experts.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a looming epidemic, growing most rapidly in the elderly population. Some of the most devastating sequelae of TBI are related to depressed levels of consciousness (e.g., coma, minimally conscious state) or deficits in executive function. To date, pharmacological and rehabilitative therapies to treat these sequelae are limited. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used to treat a number of pathologies, including Parkinson disease, essential tremor, and epilepsy. Animal and clinical research shows that targets addressing depressed levels of consciousness include components of the ascending reticular activating system and areas of the thalamus. Targets for improving executive function are more varied and include areas that modulate attention and memory, such as the frontal and prefrontal cortex, fornix, nucleus accumbens, internal capsule, thalamus, and some brainstem nuclei. The authors review the literature addressing the use of DBS to treat higher-order cognitive dysfunction and disorders of consciousness in TBI patients, while also offering suggestions on directions for future research.
Personalized virtual-heart technology for guiding the ablation of infarct-related ventricular tachycardia, In Nature Biomedical Engineering, Springer Nature America, Inc, September, 2018.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT), which can lead to sudden cardiac death, occurs frequently in patients with myocardial infarction. Catheter-based radio-frequency ablation of cardiac tissue has achieved only modest efficacy, owing to the inaccurate identification of ablation targets by current electrical mapping techniques, which can lead to extensive lesions and to a prolonged, poorly tolerated procedure. Here, we show that personalized virtual-heart technology based on cardiac imaging and computational modelling can identify optimal infarct-related VT ablation targets in retrospective animal (five swine) and human studies (21 patients), as well as in a prospective feasibility study (five patients). We first assessed, using retrospective studies (one of which included a proportion of clinical images with artefacts), the capability of the technology to determine the minimum-size ablation targets for eradicating all VTs. In the prospective study, VT sites predicted by the technology were targeted directly, without relying on prior electrical mapping. The approach could improve infarct-related VT ablation guidance, where accurate identification of patient-specific optimal targets could be achieved on a personalized virtual heart before the clinical procedure.
A. Rodenhauser, W.W. Good, B. Zenger, J. Tate, K. Aras, B. Burton, R.S. Macleod.
PFEIFER: Preprocessing Framework for Electrograms Intermittently Fiducialized from Experimental Recordings, In The Journal of Open Source Software, Vol. 3, No. 21, The Open Journal, pp. 472. Jan, 2018.
Preprocessing Framework for Electrograms Intermittently Fiducialized from Experimental Recordings (PFEIFER) is a MATLAB Graphical User Interface designed to process bioelectric signals acquired from experiments.
PFEIFER was specifically designed to process electrocardiographic recordings from electrodes placed on or around the heart or on the body surface. Specific steps included in PFEIFER allow the user to remove some forms of noise, correct for signal drift, and mark specific instants or intervals in time (fiducialize) within all of the time sampled channels. PFEIFER includes many unique features that allow the user to process electrical signals in a consistent and time efficient manner, with additional options for advanced user configurations and input. PFEIFER is structured as a consolidated framework that provides many standard processing pipelines but also has flexibility to allow the user to customize many of the steps. PFEIFER allows the user to import time aligned cardiac electrical signals, semi-automatically determine fiducial markings from those signals, and perform computational tasks that prepare the signals for subsequent display and analysis.
S. Thomas, J. Silvernagel, N. Angel, E. Kholmovski, E. Ghafoori, N. Hu, J. Ashton, D.J. Dosdall, R.S. MacLeod, R. Ranjan.
Higher contact force during radiofrequency ablation leads to a much larger increase in edema as compared to chronic lesion size, In Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Wiley, June, 2018.
Reversible edema is a part of any radiofrequency ablation but its relationship with contact force is unknown. The goal of this study was to characterize through histology and MRI, acute and chronic ablation lesions and reversible edema with contact force.
2 Methods and results
In a canine model (n = 14), chronic ventricular lesions were created with a 3.5‐mm tip ThermoCool SmartTouch (Biosense Webster) catheter at 25 W or 40 W for 30 seconds. Repeat ablation was performed after 3 months to create a second set of lesions (acute). Each ablation procedure was followed by in vivo T2‐weighted MRI for edema and late‐gadolinium enhancement (LGE) MRI for lesion characterization. For chronic lesions, the mean scar volumes at 25 W and 40 W were 77.8 ± 34.5 mm3 (n = 24) and 139.1 ± 69.7 mm3 (n = 12), respectively. The volume of chronic lesions increased (25 W: P < 0.001, 40 W: P < 0.001) with greater contact force. For acute lesions, the mean volumes of the lesion were 286.0 ± 129.8 mm3 (n = 19) and 422.1 ± 113.1 mm3 (n = 16) for 25 W and 40 W, respectively (P < 0.001 compared to chronic scar). On T2‐weighted MRI, the acute edema volume was on average 5.6–8.7 times higher than the acute lesion volume and increased with contact force (25 W: P = 0.001, 40 W: P = 0.011).
With increasing contact force, there is a marginal increase in lesion size but accompanied with a significantly larger edema. The reversible edema that is much larger than the chronic lesion volume may explain some of the chronic procedure failures.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent form of cardiac arrhythmia. Current treatments for AF remain suboptimal due to a lack of understanding of the underlying atrial structures that directly sustain AF. Existing approaches for analyzing atrial structures in 3D, especially from late gadolinium-enhanced (LGE)-MRIs, rely heavily on manual segmentation methods which are extremely labor-intensive and prone to errors. As a result, a robust and automated method for analyzing atrial structures in 3D is of high interest. We have therefore developed AtriaNet, a 16-layer convolutional neural network (CNN), on 154 3D LGE-MRIs with a spatial resolution of 0.625 mm × 0.625 mm × 1.25 mm from patients with AF, to automatically segment the left atrial (LA) epicardium and endocardium. AtriaNet consists of a multi-scaled, dual pathway architecture that captures both the local atrial tissue geometry, and the global positional information of LA using 13 successive convolutions, and 3 further convolutions for merging. By utilizing computationally efficient batch prediction, AtriaNet was able to successfully process each 3D LGE-MRI within one minute. Furthermore, benchmarking experiments showed that AtriaNet outperformed state-of-the-art CNNs, with a DICE score of 0.940 and 0.942 for the LA epicardium and endocardium respectively, and an inter-patient variance of <0.001. The estimated LA diameter and volume computed from the automatic segmentations were accurate to within 1.59 mm and 4.01 cm³ of the ground truths. Our proposed CNN was tested on the largest known dataset for LA segmentation, and to the best of our knowledge, it is the most robust approach that has ever been developed for segmenting LGE-MRIs. The increased accuracy of atrial reconstruction and analysis could potentially improve the understanding and treatment of AF.