Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research

Semi-automatic segmentation of myocardium at risk in T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance

Jane Sjögren12, Joey FA Ubachs1, Henrik Engblom1, Marcus Carlsson1, Håkan Arheden1 and Einar Heiberg1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Physiology, Skåne University Hospital, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Numerical Analysis, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2012, 14:10  doi:10.1186/1532-429X-14-10

Published: 31 January 2012



T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has been shown to be a promising technique for determination of ischemic myocardium, referred to as myocardium at risk (MaR), after an acute coronary event. Quantification of MaR in T2-weighted CMR has been proposed to be performed by manual delineation or the threshold methods of two standard deviations from remote (2SD), full width half maximum intensity (FWHM) or Otsu. However, manual delineation is subjective and threshold methods have inherent limitations related to threshold definition and lack of a priori information about cardiac anatomy and physiology. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop an automatic segmentation algorithm for quantification of MaR using anatomical a priori information.


Forty-seven patients with first-time acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction underwent T2-weighted CMR within 1 week after admission. Endocardial and epicardial borders of the left ventricle, as well as the hyper enhanced MaR regions were manually delineated by experienced observers and used as reference method. A new automatic segmentation algorithm, called Segment MaR, defines the MaR region as the continuous region most probable of being MaR, by estimating the intensities of normal myocardium and MaR with an expectation maximization algorithm and restricting the MaR region by an a priori model of the maximal extent for the user defined culprit artery. The segmentation by Segment MaR was compared against inter observer variability of manual delineation and the threshold methods of 2SD, FWHM and Otsu.


MaR was 32.9 ± 10.9% of left ventricular mass (LVM) when assessed by the reference observer and 31.0 ± 8.8% of LVM assessed by Segment MaR. The bias and correlation was, -1.9 ± 6.4% of LVM, R = 0.81 (p < 0.001) for Segment MaR, -2.3 ± 4.9%, R = 0.91 (p < 0.001) for inter observer variability of manual delineation, -7.7 ± 11.4%, R = 0.38 (p = 0.008) for 2SD, -21.0 ± 9.9%, R = 0.41 (p = 0.004) for FWHM, and 5.3 ± 9.6%, R = 0.47 (p < 0.001) for Otsu.


There is a good agreement between automatic Segment MaR and manually assessed MaR in T2-weighted CMR. Thus, the proposed algorithm seems to be a promising, objective method for standardized MaR quantification in T2-weighted CMR.