Tracking myocardial motion from cine DENSE images using spatiotemporal phase unwrapping and temporal fitting.
Spottiswoode BS., Zhong X., Hess AT., Kramer CM., Meintjes EM., Mayosi BM., Epstein FH.
Displacement encoding with stimulated echoes (DENSE) encodes myocardial tissue displacement into the phase of the MR image. Cine DENSE allows for rapid quantification of myocardial displacement at multiple cardiac phases through the majority of the cardiac cycle. For practical sensitivities to motion, relatively high displacement encoding frequencies are used and phase wrapping typically occurs. In order to obtain absolute measures of displacement, a two-dimensional (2-D) quality-guided phase unwrapping algorithm was adapted to unwrap both spatially and temporally. Both a fully automated algorithm and a faster semi-automated algorithm are proposed. A method for computing the 2-D trajectories of discrete points in the myocardium as they move through the cardiac cycle is introduced. The error in individual displacement measurements is reduced by fitting a time series to sequential displacement measurements along each trajectory. This improvement is in turn reflected in strain maps, which are derived directly from the trajectories. These methods were validated both in vivo and on a rotating phantom. Further measurements were made to optimize the displacement encoding frequency and to estimate the baseline strain noise both on the phantom and in vivo. The fully automated phase unwrapping algorithm was successful for 767 out of 800 images (95.9%), and the semi-automated algorithm was successful for 786 out of 800 images (98.3%). The accuracy of the tracking algorithm for typical cardiac displacements on a rotating phantom is 0.24 +/- 0.15 mm. The optimal displacement encoding frequency is in the region of 0.1 cycles/mm, and, for 2 scans of 17-s duration, the strain noise after temporal fitting was estimated to be 2.5 +/- 3.0% at end-diastole, 3.1 +/- 3.1% at end-systole, and 5.3 +/- 5.0% in mid-diastole. The improvement in intra-myocardial strain measurements due to temporal fitting is apparent in strain histograms, and also in identifying regions of dysfunctional myocardium in studies of patients with infarcts.