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Cardiovascular system diseases are the major causes of mortality in the world. The most important and widely used tool for assessing the heart state is echocardiography (also abbreviated as ECHO). ECHO images are used e.g. for location of any damage of heart tissues, in calculation of cardiac tissue displacement at any arbitrary point and to derive useful heart parameters like size and shape, cardiac output, ejection fraction, pumping capacity. In this paper, a robust algorithm for heart shape estimation (segmentation) in ECHO images is proposed. It is based on the recently introduced variant of the level set method called level set without edges. This variant takes advantage of the intensity value of area information instead of module of gradient which is typically used. Such approach guarantees stability and correctness of algorithm working on the border between object and background with small absolute value of image gradient. To reassure meaningful results, the image segmentation is proceeded with automatic Region of Interest (ROI) calculation. The main idea of ROI calculations is to receive a triangle-like part of the acquired ECHO image, using linear Hough transform, thresholding and simple mathematics. Additionally, in order to improve the images quality, an anisotropic diffusion filter, before ROI calculation, was used. The proposed method has been tested on real echocardiographic image sequences. Derived results confirm the effectiveness of the presented method.
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