This project involves the design of a system, first of its kind in Pakistan that unifies the diagnosis and analysis of separately performed CT Angiography and Thallium Scan, two major heart scans done throughout the world. A team of three undergraduate students (Aeman Nawaz, Intisar Pervaiz and Madiha Zafar) from EME started working on this with the collaboration of AFIC and a huge amount of research element is still there in this project. CT Angiography is a test that is used to locate the presence of a blockage in any artery that supplies blood to the heart whereas Thallium scan is a method used to determine the effect of that blockage in the depot i.e. heart muscle. By fusing the imagery of Computed Tomography (CT) coronary angiography and Thallium-201(Tl-201) Single Photon Emission CT (SPECT) Myocardial Perfusion Scan (MPS), better diagnosis and analysis of coronary artery disease (CAD) is achieved).
The system offers an improved visibility to cardiac specialist in terms of coronary anatomy and myocardial perfusion, and a single platform in reaching the decision with greater certainty. Two-in-one ‘Hybrid’ CT-SPECT systems of different companies are available in the market abroad but they cost upto Rs 8 to 10 Crore. The system designed attempts to unify the results of two separately existing non-invasive diagnostic modalities, as one, in order to get same or comparable information as that hybrid machine generates, without any extra financial/human resource burden to the institutions.
This system is complete software having a maintained database and web supported portal created by using networking applications. The system takes images of both scan as input and fuses them by applying image processing techniques. The design of the project is divided into three main parts; System design, Software design and Data Communication module. The system design involves image processing techniques to achieve a highly descriptive image containing all the details of any blockage or deficiency present in any artery. The following flow chart shows the steps taken to design the fusion system.