BACKGROUND: Virtual reality techniques have recently been introduced into clinical medicine. This study examines the possibility of coronary artery fly-through using a dataset obtained by noninvasive coronary angiography with contrast-enhanced electron-beam computed tomography. METHODS AND RESULTS: Ten patients were examined, and 40 to 60 transaxial tomograms (thickness, 1.5 mm; in-plane pixel dimensions, approximately 0.5x0.5 mm) were obtained after intravenous contrast injection. The datasets were processed on a graphics workstation using volume-rendering software. For fly-throughs, the contrast-enhanced lumen was made transparent and other tissue was made opaque. Then, key frames were selected in a path through the vessel, with software interpolation of frames between key frames. A typical movie contained 150 to 300 frames (10 to 15 key frames). Fly-throughs of coronary bypass grafts (n=3), left anterior descending arteries (LAD; n=6), and the intermediate branch (n=1) were reconstructed. Coronary calcifications were seen in 3 patients. The fly-through of the intermediate branch, the bypass grafts, and one of the LADs did not show any irregularities. In 2 cases, a stenosis was visible in the LAD; its presence was confirmed by conventional coronary angiography. CONCLUSIONS: Recent developments in fast-volume rendering using special-purpose hardware in combination with noninvasive coronary angiography with electron beam computed tomography have provided the possibility of performing coronary artery fly-throughs.

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Circulation (Baltimore)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Ooijen, P., Oudkerk, M., van Geuns, R. J., Rensing, B., & de Feyter, P. (2000). Coronary Artery Fly-Through Using Electron Beam Computed Tomography. Circulation (Baltimore), 102(1), 6–10. Retrieved from