Background and Aim: Quantitative Blush Evaluator (QuBE) is a software application that allows quantifying myocardial perfusion in coronary angiograms after a percutaneous coronary intervention. QuBE has some limitations such as the application of a crude filter to remove large scale structures and the absence of correction for cardiac motion. This study investigates the extent of these limitations and we hypothesize that enhanced image analysis methods can provide improvements.
Methods: We calculated QuBE scores of 117 patients from the HEBE Trial and determined its association with the Myocardial Blush Grade (MBG) score. Accuracy of large-structure removal is qualitatively assessed for various sizes of a median filter. The influence of cardiac motion was evaluated by comparing the blush curve and QuBE score of the native QuBE with manually motion-corrected QuBE for 40 patients. The effect of different kernel sizes and motion correction to a potential improvement of the association between QuBE score and MBG was studied.
Results: In our population, there was no significant association between QuBE score and MBG (p=0.14). Median filters of various kernel sizes were unable to remove large structure related noise. Variations in filters and cardiac movement correction did not result in an improvement in the association with MBG scores (observer 1: p=0.66; observer 2: p=0.72).
Conclusions: There was no significant association of QuBE with MBG scores in our population, which suggests that QuBE is not suitable for a quantitative assessment of myocardial perfusion. Alternative kernel sizes for the large structure removal filter and cardiac motion correction did not improve QuBE performance.
Relevance for patients: Further improvements of QuBE to overcome its inherent limitations are necessary in order to establish QuBE as a reliable myocardial perfusion assessment method.
1 Department of Biomedical Engineering & Physics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2 Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
3 Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
4 Department of Cardiology and Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
5 Department of Cardiology and Thorax Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
6 Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Department of Biomedical Engineering & Physics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Department of Experimental Surgery, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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