Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers several acquisition techniques for precise and highly reproducible assessment of global and regional ventricular function, flow, and perfusion at rest and under pharmacological or physical stress conditions. Recent advances in hardware and software have resulted in strong improvement of image quality and in a significant decrease in the required imaging time for each of these acquisitions. Several aspects of heart disease can be studied by combining multiple MRI techniques in a single examination. Such a comprehensive examination could replace a number of other imaging procedures, such as diagnostic X-ray angiography, echocardiography, and scintigraphy, which would be beneficial for the patient and cost effective. Despite the advances in MRI, quantitative image analysis often still relies on manual tracing of contours in the images, which is a time-consuming and tedious procedure that limits the clinical applicability of cardiovascular MRI. Reliable automated or semi-automated image analysis software would be very helpful to overcome the limitations associated with manual image processing. In this paper the developments directed toward automated quantitative image analysis and semi-automated contour detection for cardiovascular MR imaging are reviewed. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 1999; 10:602-608.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.