The interpretation of three-dimensional (3D) structures of the coronary tree and the myocardium by a clinician demands a subjective visual integration of two-dimensional (2D) images of cardiac diagnostic procedures like coronary angiography and myocardial scintigraphy. Although in the conventional analysis of 2D display scintigraphic myocardial perfusion segments are arbitrarily assigned to three major coronary artery systems, the standard myocardial perfusion distribution territories correspond with the individual pathologic-anatomic coronary tree in only 50-60% of the patients. Hence, the mental integration of both 2D images of coronary angiography and myocardial scintigraphy does not necessarily allow an accurate assignment of particular myocardial perfusion regions to the corresponding vessels. For an objective assignment of each vessel segment of the coronary tree to the corresponding myocardial regions, we have developed a 3D 'fusion image' technique and applied it to patients with coronary artery disease. Cause-and- effect relationships may be more obvious with 3D data fusion and may enable an easier comparison of anatomy and physiology. Preliminary results demonstrate that our newly developed 3D fusion image is useful for accurate assignment of coronary vessel segments to the corresponding myocardial perfusion regions and suggest that it may allow the clinician a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the patient's myocardial status.
- 3D fusion imaging
- Coronary disease