2-D models perform better for circulatory disease diagnosis

A team of computer scientists, physicists, and physicians at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA) have developed a prototype tool called HemoVis that can display human arteries in two dimensions from a 3-D model.

Oct 28th, 2011
A team at Harvard has developed a 2-D method of visualizing human arteries, called HemoVis, that may result in more accurate diagnoses of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Image courtesy of Michelle Borkin.
A team at Harvard has developed a 2-D method of visualizing human arteries, called HemoVis, that may result in more accurate diagnoses of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Image courtesy of Michelle Borkin.

A team of computer scientists, physicists, and physicians at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA) have developed a prototype tool called HemoVis that can display human arteries in two dimensions from a 3-D model.

Tools for artery visualization in both clinical and research settings commonly use 3-D models that portray the shape and spatial arrangement of vessels of interest. These complex tools require users to rotate the models to get a complete perspective of spatial orientation.

With the new method, an arterial system that would previously have been reconstructed in 3-D is deconstructed and shown with each branch separated from the main vessel. Arteries are then represented as 2-D branches whose dimensions are proportional to the circumference and length of the corresponding artery. Branching points and relationships between branches are also displayed.

Though this visualization method may seem less high-tech, the team demonstrated that the 2-D model is actually a more accurate and efficient means to diagnose disease.

"In the 3-D case, the more complex and branched the arteries were, the longer it took to complete the patient diagnosis, and the lower the accuracy was," says Michelle Borkin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). "In the 2-D representation, it didn't matter how many branches we had or how complex they were -- we got consistently fast, accurate results."

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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