Multi-generational analysis and visualization of the vascular tree in 3D micro-CT images

Shu Yen Wan, Erik L. Ritman, William E. Higgins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

48 Scopus citations


Micro-CT scanners can generate large high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) digital images of small-animal organs, such as rat hearts. Such images enable studies of basic physiologic questions on coronary branching geometry and fluid transport. Performing such an analysis requires three steps: (1) extract the arterial tree from the image; (2) compute quantitative geometric data from the extracted tree; and (3) perform a numerical analysis of the computed data. Because a typical coronary arterial tree consists of hundreds of branches and many generations, it is impractical to perform such an integrated study manually. An automatic method exists for performing step (1), extracting the tree, but little effort has been made on the other two steps. We propose an environment for performing a complete study. Quantitative measures for arterial-lumen cross-sectional area, inter-branch segment length, branch surface area and others at the generation, inter-branch, and intra-branch levels are computed. A human user can then work with the quantitative data in an interactive visualization system. The system provides various forms of viewing and permits interactive tree editing for "on the fly" correction of the quantitative data. We illustrate the methodology for 3D micro-CT rat heart images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • 3D medical image processing
  • 3D vascular tree analysis
  • Coronary arteries
  • Micro-CT imaging
  • Small-animal imaging
  • Volume visualization


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-generational analysis and visualization of the vascular tree in 3D micro-CT images'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this