BACKGROUND: Ex-vivo cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has played an important role in the validation of in-vivo CMR characterization of pathological processes. However, comparison between in-vivo and ex-vivo imaging remains challenging due to shape changes occurring between the two states, which may be non-uniform across the diseased heart. A novel two-step process to facilitate registration between ex-vivo and in-vivo CMR was developed and evaluated in a porcine model of chronic myocardial infarction (MI). METHODS: Seven weeks after ischemia-reperfusion MI, 12 swine underwent in-vivo CMR imaging with late gadolinium enhancement followed by ex-vivo CMR 1 week later. Five animals comprised the control group, in which ex-vivo imaging was undertaken without any support in the LV cavity, 7 animals comprised the experimental group, in which a two-step registration optimization process was undertaken. The first step involved a heart specific flexible 3D printed scaffold generated from in-vivo CMR, which was used to maintain left ventricular (LV) shape during ex-vivo imaging. In the second step, a non-rigid co-registration algorithm was applied to align in-vivo and ex-vivo data. Tissue dimension changes between in-vivo and ex-vivo imaging were compared between the experimental and control group. In the experimental group, tissue compartment volumes and thickness were compared between in-vivo and ex-vivo data before and after non-rigid registration. The effectiveness of the alignment was assessed quantitatively using the DICE similarity coefficient. RESULTS: LV cavity volume changed more in the control group (ratio of cavity volume between ex-vivo and in-vivo imaging in control and experimental group 0.14 vs 0.56, p < 0.0001) and there was a significantly greater change in the short axis dimensions in the control group (ratio of short axis dimensions in control and experimental group 0.38 vs 0.79, p < 0.001). In the experimental group, prior to non-rigid co-registration the LV cavity contracted isotropically in the ex-vivo condition by less than 20% in each dimension. There was a significant proportional change in tissue thickness in the healthy myocardium (change = 29 ± 21%), but not in dense scar (change = - 2 ± 2%, p = 0.034). Following the non-rigid co-registration step of the process, the DICE similarity coefficients for the myocardium, LV cavity and scar were 0.93 (±0.02), 0.89 (±0.01) and 0.77 (±0.07) respectively and the myocardial tissue and LV cavity volumes had a ratio of 1.03 and 1.00 respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The pattern of the morphological changes seen between the in-vivo and the ex-vivo LV differs between scar and healthy myocardium. A 3D printed flexible scaffold based on the in-vivo shape of the LV cavity is an effective strategy to minimize morphological changes in the ex-vivo LV. The subsequent non-rigid registration step further improved the co-registration and local comparison between in-vivo and ex-vivo data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of cardiovascular magnetic resonance : official journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • 3D printing
  • Co-registration
  • Ex-vivo CMR
  • Scar imaging


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