Computed Tomography Virtual Intravascular Endoscopy in the Visualization of Cardiovascular Disease: Imaging Appearances and Clinical Value
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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in advanced countries and its prevalence is increasing among developing countries. Early detection and diagnosis are essential for improvement of treatment outcomes and patient management. Medical imaging plays an important role in this respect, and currently computed tomography (CT) angiography has been considered the preferred imaging modality due to the emergence of multislice CT scanners and subsequent rapid technological developments over the past decades. Diagnostic performance of CT angiography has been significantly enhanced with use of a number of post-processing techniques, which allow for two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) visualizations of both normal vascular anatomy and abnormal changes. Of these visualization tools, virtual intravascular endoscopy (VIE) represents a unique tool providing intraluminal views of the blood vessel. This article presents an overview of VIE visualization tool with a focus on the image processing and generation of intravascular views, clinical applications of this technique in the diagnosis of common cardiovascular disease.
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