Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging in Intravascular Ultrasound
Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) has demonstrated potential for robust assessment of atherosclerotic plaques biochemical composition and for complementing conventional intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), which provides information on plaque morphology. The success of such a bi-modal imaging modality depends on accurate segmentation of the IVUS images and proper angular registration between these two modalities. This paper reports a novel IVUS segmentation methodology addressing this issue. The image preprocessing consisted of denoising, using the Wiener filter, followed by image smoothing, implemented through the application of the alternating sequential filter on the edge separability metric images.
Extraction of the lumen/intima and media/adventitia boundaries was achieved by tracing the gray-scale peaks over the A-lines of the IVUS preprocessed images. Cubic spline interpolation, in both cross-sectional and longitudinal directions, ensured boundary smoothness and continuity. The detection of the guide-wire artifact in both modalities is used for angular registration. Intraluminal studies were conducted in 13 ex vivo segments of human coronaries. The IVUS segmentation accuracy was assessed against independent manual tracings, providing 91.82% sensitivity and 97.55% specificity. The proposed methodology makes the bi-modal FLIM and IVUS approach feasible for comprehensive intravascular diagnosis by providing co-registered biochemical and morphological information of atherosclerotic plaques
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