Noninvasive quantitative evaluation of atherosclerosis using MRI and image analysis.
A new medical image analysis system to quantify atherosclerosis in the lower abdominal aorta using magnetic resonance imaging is described. This medical image analysis and display system permits the quantification of the three-dimensional (3D) properties of the vessel wall and lumen cross-sectional area and volumes. Preliminary results of employing this medical image analysis capability on magnetic resonance images demonstrated a twofold increase in wall volume per unit vessel length, corresponding to intimal thickening, before luminal narrowing was detected. This work demonstrated the feasibility and usefulness of quantitatively evaluating the 3D properties of the vessel lumen and wall by using a combination of magnetic resonance imaging and image analysis. The demonstration that intimal wall thickening is observed in images before observable occlusion of the lumen can be expected to provide an important early indicator of the future development of atherosclerosis. Such capability will permit detailed and quantitative studies to assess the effectiveness of therapies, such as drug, exercise, and dietary regimens.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association