Evaluation of coronary anatomy with conventional coronary angiography requires visual integration of multiple images from different viewing orientations to generate a mental interpretation of three-dimensional (3D) structure. The epicardial surface is, in many ways, analogous to the earth's surface topography and may be effectively depicted using cartographic methods. To show coronary anatomy visualized as topographic maps, we used cartographic projection methods to analyze the coronary vessels of a canine heart after immediate postmortem injection with a radio-opaque gelatinous solution. A volumetric image data set was obtained with x-ray spiral computed tomography. The principal axis of the image volume was calculated and the image volume reformatted to a reference coordinate system defined by the principal axis as the ordinate. A cylindrical projection map of the epicardial surface was created using a maximum-intensity projection volume-rendering technique. After converting the Cartesian reference coordinate system to a polar coordinate system, additional mapping projections from user-defined orientations were generated. The results show that interpretative difficulties of coronary angiography may be diminished by generating 3D maps of coronary anatomy using volumetric datasets acquired noninvasively and displayed with cartographic methods.
- Coronary artery disease
- spiral computed tomography