The combined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling approach is playing an increasingly important role in advancing our understanding of the relationship between hemodynamics and arterial disease. Nevertheless, such a modeling approach involves a number of uncertainties associated with various stages of the process. The present study is concerned with the reproducibility of geometry reconstruction, one of the most crucial steps in the modeling process. The reproducibility test was conducted on the right carotid bifurcation of eight normal human subjects, each of whom were scanned twice using the same MR protocol with an in-plane resolution of 0.625 mm. Models constructed from different scans of the same subject were compared and assessed using four quantitative measures: centerline distance, cross-sectional area, contour shape factors, and mean radius difference. The difference in the maximum carotid bulb area between the two scans was found to be <8.1% for all subjects. Shape factors (measuring the dissimilarity between two contours) of <10% were achieved in most of the common carotid arteries (CCAs) and internal carotid arteries (ICAs). The mean radius difference between the two scans was <0.4 mm for all subjects. Among the three vessels, the geometry of CCA was well reproduced by the reconstruction procedure in most of the cases, while the external carotid artery (ECA) showed the worst reproducibility. The impact of geometrical differences on CFD-predicted flow patterns and wall shear stress (WSS) will be investigated and discussed in a separate paper.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.