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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2008, Article ID 738545, 10 pages
Research Article

Model-Based Analysis of Flow-Mediated Dilation and Intima-Media Thickness

1Department of Information Engineering, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
2Department of Computer Science, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy
3Department of Internal, Cardiovascular, and Geriatric Medicine, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
4Medizinische Klinik für Kardiologie und Angiologie, 55131 Mainz, Germany

Received 23 July 2008; Revised 23 October 2008; Accepted 24 December 2008

Academic Editor: Richard Bayford

Copyright © 2008 G. Bartoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present an end-to-end system for the automatic measurement of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and intima-media thickness (IMT) for the assessment of the arterial function. The video sequences are acquired from a B-mode echographic scanner. A spline model (deformable template) is fitted to the data to detect the artery boundaries and track them all along the video sequence. The a priori knowledge about the image features and its content is exploited. Preprocessing is performed to improve both the visual quality of video frames for visual inspection and the performance of the segmentation algorithm without affecting the accuracy of the measurements. The system allows real-time processing as well as a high level of interactivity with the user. This is obtained by a graphical user interface (GUI) enabling the cardiologist to supervise the whole process and to eventually reset the contour extraction at any point in time. The system was validated and the accuracy, reproducibility, and repeatability of the measurements were assessed with extensive in vivo experiments. Jointly with the user friendliness, low cost, and robustness, this makes the system suitable for both research and daily clinical use.