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3D Imaging Tool Can Aid in COVID-19 Diagnoses

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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 26, 2020 — Scientists at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine (LSU Health New Orleans) showed that 3D segmented digital models of the lungs could provide a way to more clearly evaluate the extent and distribution of COVID-19-related infection in the respiratory system, as opposed to straight radiographs, CT data, or reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) alone.

The scientists created 3D digital models from CT scans of patients hospitalized with symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2. The CT scans were segmented into 3D digital surface models using the scientific visualization program Avizo (Thermofisher Scientific) and techniques used by the lab for evolutionary anatomy research.

An LSU Health New Orleans radiologist and evolutionary anatomist demonstrate that 3D models are a promising method for visually evaluating the distribution of COVID-19-related infection in the respiratory system. Courtesy of LSU Health New Orleans.

An LSU Health New Orleans radiologist and evolutionary anatomist demonstrated that 3D models are a promising method for visually evaluating the distribution of COVID-19-related infection in the respiratory system. Courtesy of LSU Health New Orleans.

The models demonstrate the relationship, distribution, and full extent of the disease in 3D, versus a single CT slice, which can only provide information on the localized position of the infection.

“The full effect of COVID-19 on the respiratory system remains unknown, but the 3D digital segmented models provide clinicians a new tool to evaluate the extent and distribution of the disease in one encapsulated view,” Dr. Bradley Spieler said. “This is especially useful in the case where RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 is negative but there is strong clinical suspicion for COVID-19.”

To date, science and technology have yet to produce highly accurate models indicating what COVID is doing to the lungs, the researchers said. The printable digital models also could be useful for communicating the impact of COVID-19 on the respiratory system to the general public.

“Previously published 3D models of lungs with COVID-19 have been created using automated volume rendering techniques,” professor Emma R. Schachner said. “Our method is more challenging and time-consuming, but results in a highly accurate and detailed anatomical model where the layers can be pulled apart, volumes quantified, and it can be 3D-printed.”

Schachner and Spieler are now segmenting more models for a larger follow-up project. The research was published in BMJ Case Reports (www.doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2020-236943).   

 


Three-dimensional digital models of lungs with COVID-19. Courtesy of the Schachner Lab/LSU Health New Orleans.

Photonics.com
Aug 2020
Research & TechnologyeducationAmericasLouisiana State University School of MedicineCOVID-19coronavirusimagingmedical imaging3D imagingmedicalmedicinerespiratory disease

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