Improving IVUS palpography by incorporation of motion compensation based on block matching and optical flow.

Research paper by Mikhail G MG Danilouchkine, Frits F Mastik, Antonius F W AF van der Steen

Indexed on: 04 Dec '08Published on: 04 Dec '08Published in: IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control


Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) strain imaging of the luminal layer in coronary arteries, coined as IVUS palpography, utilizes conventional radio frequency (RF) signals acquired at 2 different levels of a compressional load. The signals are cross-correlated to obtain the microscopic tissue displacements, which can be directly translated into local strain of the vessel wall. However, (apparent) tissue motion and nonuniform deformation of the vessel wall, due to catheter wiggling, reduce signal correlation and result in invalid strain estimates. Implications of probe motion were studied on the tissue-mimicking phantom. The measured circumferential tissue displacement and level of the speckle decorrelation amounted to 12 degrees and 0.58, respectively, for the catheter displacement of 456 microm. To compensate for the motion artifacts in IVUS palpography, a novel method based on the feature-based scale-space optical flow (OF), and classical block matching (BM) algorithm, were employed. The computed OF vector and BM displacement fields quantify the amount of local tissue misalignment in consecutive frames. Subsequently, the extracted circumferential displacements are used to realign the signals before strain computation. Motion compensation reduces the RF signal decorrelation and increases the number of valid strain estimates. The advantage of applying the motion correction in IVUS palpography was demonstrated in a midscale validation study on 14 in vivo pullbacks. Both methods substantially increase the number of valid strain estimates in the partial and compounded palpograms. Mean relative improvement in the number of valid strain estimates with motion compensation in comparison to one without motion compensation amounts to 28% and 14%, respectively. Implementation of motion compensation methods boosts the diagnostic value of IVUS palpography.