Area-preserving flattening maps of 3D ultrasound carotid arteries images

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Quantitative measurements of the progression (or regression) of carotid plaque burden are important in monitoring patients and evaluating new treatment options. 3D ultrasound (US) has been used to monitor the progression of carotid artery plaques in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, and different methods of measuring various ultrasound phenotypes of atherosclerosis have been developed. We have developed a quantitative metric used to analyze changes in carotid plaque morphology from 3D US. This method matched the vertices on the carotid arterial wall surface with those on the luminal surface. Vessel–wall-plus-plaque thickness (VWT) was obtained by computing the distance between each corresponding pair, which was then superimposed on the arterial wall to produce the VWT map. Since the progression of plaque thickness is important in monitoring patients who are at risk for stroke, we also computed the change of VWT by comparing the VWT maps obtained for a patient at two different time points. In this paper, we propose a technique to flatten the 3D VWT and VWT-Change maps in an area-preserving manner, in order to facilitate the visualization and interpretation of these maps.

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