Model-based segmentation approaches have been proven to produce very accurate segmentation results while simultaneously providing an anatomic labeling for the segmented structures. However, variations of the anatomy, as they are often encountered e.g. on the drainage pattern of the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, cannot be represented by a single model. Automatic model selection extends the model-based segmentation approach to handling significant variational anatomies without user interaction. Using models for the three most common anatomical variations of the left atrium, we propose a method that uses an estimation of the local fit of different models to select the best fitting model automatically. Our approach employs the support vector machine for the automatic model selection. The method was evaluated on 42 very accurate segmentations of MRI scans using three different models. The correct model was chosen in 88.1 % of the cases. In a second experiment, reflecting average segmentation results, the model corresponding to the clinical classification was automatically found in 78.0 % of the cases.
Electrophysiological simulations of the atria could improve diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation or flutter. For this purpose, a precise segmentation of both atria is needed. However, the atrial epicardium and the electrophysiological structures needed for electrophysiological simulations are barely or not at all detectable in CT-images. Therefore, a model based segmentation of only the atrial endocardium was developed as a landmark generator to facilitate the registration of a finite wall thickness model of the right and left atrial myocardium. It further incorporates atlas information about tissue structures relevant for simulation purposes like Bachmanns bundle, terminal crest, sinus node and the pectinate muscles. The correct model based segmentation of the atrial endocardium was achieved with a mean vertex to surface error of 0.53 mm for the left and 0.18 mm for the right atrium respectively. The atlas based myocardium segmentation yields physiologically correct results well suited for electrophysiological simulations.