Objective: The human heart is composed of a helical network of muscle fibers organized to form sheets that are separated by cleavage planes responsible for the orthotropic mechanical properties of cardiac muscle. The purpose of this study is the reconstruction and visualization of these structures in 3 dimensions.
Methods: Anisotropic least square filtering followed by fiber and sheet tracking techniques were applied to diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging data of the excised human heart. Fibers were reconstructed using the first eigenvectors of the diffusion tensors. The sheets were reconstructed using the second and third eigenvectors and visualized as surfaces.
Results: The fibers are shown to lie in sheets that have transmural structure, which correspond to histologic studies published in the literature. Quantitative measurements show that the sheets as appose to the fibers are organized into laminar orientations without dominant populations.
Conclusions: A visualization algorithm was developed to demonstrate the complex 3-dimensional orientation of the fibers and sheets in human myocardium.