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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 11;7(1):830. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00946-7.

Imaging the dynamics of cardiac fiber orientation in vivo using 3D Ultrasound Backscatter Tensor Imaging.

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Institut Langevin, ESPCI ParisTech, CNRS UMR 7587, INSERM U979, 17 rue Moreau, 75012, Paris, France.
Department of Pathology, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, 21, rue Leblanc, 75015, Paris, France.
Institut Langevin, ESPCI ParisTech, CNRS UMR 7587, INSERM U979, 17 rue Moreau, 75012, Paris, France.


The assessment of myocardial fiber disarray is of major interest for the study of the progression of myocardial disease. However, time-resolved imaging of the myocardial structure remains unavailable in clinical practice. In this study, we introduce 3D Backscatter Tensor Imaging (3D-BTI), an entirely novel ultrasound-based imaging technique that can map the myocardial fibers orientation and its dynamics with a temporal resolution of 10 ms during a single cardiac cycle, non-invasively and in vivo in entire volumes. 3D-BTI is based on ultrafast volumetric ultrasound acquisitions, which are used to quantify the spatial coherence of backscattered echoes at each point of the volume. The capability of 3D-BTI to map the fibers orientation was evaluated in vitro in 5 myocardial samples. The helicoidal transmural variation of fiber angles was in good agreement with the one obtained by histological analysis. 3D-BTI was then performed to map the fiber orientation dynamics in vivo in the beating heart of an open-chest sheep at a volume rate of 90 volumes/s. Finally, the clinical feasibility of 3D-BTI was shown on a healthy volunteer. These initial results indicate that 3D-BTI could become a fully non-invasive technique to assess myocardial disarray at the bedside of patients.

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