In addition to its technical merits as a challenging nonrigid motion and structural integrity analysis problem, quantitative estimation of cardiac regional functions and material characteristics has significant physiological and clinical value. We developed a stochastic finite-element framework for the simultaneous recovery of myocardial motion and material parameters from medical image sequences with an extended Kalman filter approach, and we have shown that this simultaneous estimation strategy achieves more accurate and robust results than separated motion and material estimation efforts. In this paper, we present a new computational strategy for the framework based upon the maximum a posteriori estimation principles, realized through the extended Kalman smoother, that produces a sequence of kinematics state and material parameter estimation of the entire myocardium, including the endocardial, epicardial, and midwall tissues. The system dynamics equations of the heart are constructed using a biomechanical model with stochastic parameters, and the tissue material and deformation parameters are jointly estimated from the periodic imaging data. Noise-corrupted synthetic image sequences with known kinematics and material parameters are used to assess the accuracy and robustness of the framework. Experiments with canine magnetic resonance tagging and phase-contrast image sequences have been conducted with very promising results, as validated through comparison to the histological staining of postmortem myocardium.
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