Ultrasound-based 2D speckle-tracking echocardiography (US-2D-STE) is increasingly used to assess the functionality of the heart. In particular, the analysis of cardiac strain plays an important role in the identification of several cardiovascular diseases. However, this imaging technique presents some limitations associated with its operating principle that result in low accuracy and reproducibility of the measurement. In this study, an experimental framework for multimodal strain imaging in an in vitro porcine heart was developed. Specifically, the aim of this work was to analyse displacement and strain in the heart by means of 3D digital image correlation (3D-DIC) and US-2D-STE. Over a single cardiac cycle, displacement values obtained from the two techniques were in strong correlation, although systematically larger displacements were observed with 3D-DIC. Notwithstanding an absolute comparison of the strain measurements was not possible to achieve between the two methods, maximum principal strain directions computed with 3D-DIC were consistent with the longitudinal and circumferential strain distribution measured with US-2D-STE. 3D-DIC confirmed its high repeatability in quantifying displacement and strain over multiple cardiac cycles, unlike US-2D-STE which is affected by accumulated errors over time (i.e. drift). To conclude, this study demonstrates the potential of 3D-DIC to perform dynamic measurement of displacement and strain during heart deformations and supports future applications of this method in ex vivo beating heart platforms, which replicate more fully the complex contraction of the heart.
- 3D digital image correlation
- Cardiac displacement and strain
- in vitro porcine heart
- Ultrasound 2D speckle-tracking echocardiography