Researchers from the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain have created a high resolution atlas of the heart based on 3D images taken from 138 people.

“This atlas is a statistical description of how the heart and its components — such as the ventricles and the atrium — look,” Corne Hoogendoorn, researcher at Pompeu Fabra University’s CISTIB centre, told SINC, the news agency of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology FECYT.

The study can be applied to medical imaging, especially when segmenting, or in other words, properly differentiating a structure to be analysed from the rest of the image, the journal IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, reports.

The level of detail and the possibility to extend the atlas give it “an advantage over the majority of cardiac models present to date”, adds Hoogendoorn, according to a Pompeu Fabra statement.

Pompeu Fabra scientists have managed to create a representation of the average shape of the heart and its variations with images from 138 fully functioning hearts taken using multi-slice computed tomography.

This technique offers both 3D and high resolution X-ray.

To create this cardiac map, researchers developed a statistical model capable of managing high quantities of information provided by individual images.

It can also collect temporary variations, given that the heart is never motionless.

More In: Science | Sci-Tech