The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of using echocardiographic imaging as an approach for determining the myocardial fiber structure of intact, individual hearts. Seven formalin-fixed, ex vivo sheep hearts were imaged using a commercially available echocardiographic imaging system, and the intrinsic fiber structure for the reconstructed shortaxis cross section was determined for a specific distance from the apex of each heart. Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance (DT-MR) images of each heart were acquired and fiber maps were created for comparison with the fiber structure obtained from the corresponding reconstructed echocardiographic images. These two methods of obtaining the fiber structure showed relatively good agreement, suggesting that measurements of fiber orientation for individual hearts can be derived from echocardiographic images. Further development of this method may provide a clinically useful approach for mapping the fiber orientation in individual patients over the heart cycle.
- Fiber structure