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Temporal compounding can be used to suppress acoustic noise in transthoracic cardiac ultrasound by spatially averaging partially decorrelated images acquired over consecutive cardiac cycles. However, the reliable spatial and temporal alignment of the corresponding frames in consecutive cardiac cycles is vital for effective implementation of temporal compounding. This study introduces a novel, efficient, accurate and robust technique for the spatiotemporal alignment of consecutive cardiac cycles with variable temporal characteristics. Furthermore, optimal acquisition parameters, such as the number of consecutive cardiac cycles used, are derived. The effect of the proposed implementation of temporal compounding on cardiac ultrasound images is quantitatively assessed (32 clinical data sets providing a representative range of image qualities and diagnostic values) using measures such as tissue signal-to-noise ratio, chamber signal-to-noise ratio, tissue/chamber contrast and detectability index, as well as a range of clinical measurements, such as chamber diameter and wall thickness, performed during routine echocardiographic examinations. Temporal compounding (as implemented) consistently improved the image quality and diagnostic value of the processed images, when compared with the original data by: (i) increasing tissue and cavity signal-to-noise ratios as well as tissue/cavity detectability index, (ii) improving the corresponding clinical measurement repeatability and inter-operator measurement agreement, while (iii) reducing the number of omitted measurements caused by data corruption.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (UMB)|
|Early online date||26 Mar 2015|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2015|