MAY 15--The Manchester Visualization Centre (MVC; formerly The Computer Graphics Unit; Manchester, UK; mvc.man.ac.uk) has created a new endovascular-surgery planning (ESP) tool using AVS/Express data-visualization software from Advanced Visual Systems Inc. (AVS; Waltham, MA; www.avs.com). The MVC custom software combines advanced visualization techniques with magnetic-resonance imaging to allow noninvasive, presurgical analysis of aneurysms. Images from the software can be seen at www.avs.com/esp.
The ESP tool helps clinicians determine the optimal view of a brain aneurysm and assess its shape, size, and position prior to surgery and without risk to the patient. The MVC chose AVS/Express for this project because of its rapid user-interface development environment, provision of advanced visualization methods, and cross-platform compatibility. "AVS/Express allowed us to present an initial working version of the software in less than four weeks," said James Perrin, research associate at MVC.
Brain hemorrhages, which cause sudden death, often result from the rupture of an aneurysm--a small, thin-walled protuberance caused by pressure build-up in an artery. One new treatment, currently under evaluation, involves packing the aneurysm with platinum by means of a small tube or catheter run through the femoral artery and into the brain. The platinum promotes clotting and eventual healing of the aneurysm without brain surgery.
A major difficulty of this technique, however, is accurate assessment of the aneurysm's shape and origin, which is crucial for specifying the packing. Current assessment procedures pose their own dangers to the patient in the form of radiation and increased pressure within the artery. ESP addresses this problem as a noninvasive, easy-to-use assessment tool.
Perrin commented, "With AVS/Express, we were able to build a professional and intuitive application that allowed clinicians to immediately visualize their data." AVS/Express' support for Linux, along with 3-D hardware acceleration, means that ESP can handle heavy graphics demands--specifically the isosurfaces generated from a 512 x 512 x 100 volume--on an affordable desktop machine. ESP, like AVS/Express, also runs under the Windows operating system.
The MVC received funding for the work from The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, which was founded in 1964 and provides grants for medical research and humanitarian purposes.