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Comparative Visualization of Tracer Uptake in In Vivo Small Animal PET/CT Imaging of the Carotid Arteries

Stefan Diepenbrock, Sven Hermann, Michael Schäfers, Michael Kuhlmann, Klaus H. Hinrichs
EG EuroVis - 2013, accepted.
Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in the western world. Medical research on atherosclerosis is therefore of great interest and a very active research topic. We present a visualization system that supports scientists in exploring plaque development and evaluating the applicability of PET tracers for early diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. In our application case a cone shaped cuff has been implanted around the carotid artery of ApoE knockout mice, fed with a high cholesterol western type diet. As a result, vascular lesions develop upstream and downstream from the cuff. Tracer uptake induced by these lesions needs to be analyzed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of different PET tracers. We discuss the approach previously utilized to perform this kind of analysis, the problems arising from in vivo image acquisition (in contrast to ex vivo) and the design process of our application. In close cooperation with domain experts we have developed new visualization techniques that display PET activity in the vessel wall and surrounding tissue in a single image. We use the vessel wall detected in the CT image to perform a normalized circular projection which allows the user to judge PET signal distribution in relation to the deformed vessel. Based on this projection a quantitative analysis of a defined region adjacent to the vessel wall can be performed and compared to the artery without the cuff.

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BibTex references

@inproceedings{DHSKH13,
  author = {Diepenbrock, Stefan and Hermann, Sven and Sch{\"a}fers, Michael and Kuhlmann, Michael and Hinrichs, Klaus H.},
  title = {Comparative Visualization of Tracer Uptake in In Vivo Small Animal PET/CT Imaging of the Carotid Arteries},
  booktitle = {EG EuroVis},
  year = {2013},
  note = {accepted},
  keywords = {voreen},
  url = {http://viscg.uni-muenster.de/publications/2013/DHSKH13},
}

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