Speckle tracking accuracy enhancement by temporal super-resolution of three-dimensional echocardiography images

Mohammad Jalali, Hamid Behnam

DOI: 10.4103/jmss.JMSS_26_20


Background: Speckle tracking has always been a challenging issue in echocardiography images due to the lowcontrast and noisy nature of ultrasonic imaging modality. While in ultrasound imaging, framerate is limited by image size and sound speed in tissue, speckle tracking results get worse inthree-dimensional imaging due to its lower frame rate. Therefore, numerous techniques have beenreported to overcome this limitation and enhance tracking accuracy. Methods: In this work, we have proposedto increase the frame rate temporally for a sequence of three-dimensional (3D) echocardiographyframes to make tracking more accurate. To increase the number of frames, cubic B-spline is usedto interpolate between intensity variation time curves extracted from every single voxel in theimage during the cardiac cycle. We have shown that the frame rate increase will result in trackingaccuracy improvement. Results: To prove the efficiency of the proposed method, numerical evaluation metricsfor tracking are reported to make a comparison between high temporal resolution sequences andlow temporal resolution sequences. Anatomical affine optical flow is selected as the state-of-the-artspeckle tracking method, and a 3D echocardiography dataset is used to evaluate the proposedmethod. Conclusion: Results show that it is beneficial for speckle tracking to perform on temporally condensedframes rather than ordinary clinical 3D echocardiography images. Normalized mean enhancementvalues for mean absolute error, Hausdorff distance, and Dice index for all cases and all frames are0.44 ± 0.09, 0.42± 0.09, and 0.36 ± 0.06, respectively.


Cubic B-spline interpolation, speckle tracking, temporal super-resolution, three-dimensional echocardiography

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