We propose a regularized least-squares method for reconstructing 2D velocity vector fields within the left ventricular cavity from single-view color Doppler echocardiographic images. Vector flow mapping is formulated as a quadratic optimization problem based on an [Formula: see text]-norm minimization of a cost function composed of a Doppler data-fidelity term and a regularizer. The latter contains three physically interpretable expressions related to 2D mass conservation, Dirichlet boundary conditions, and smoothness. A finite difference discretization of the continuous problem was adopted in a polar coordinate system, leading to a sparse symmetric positive-definite system. The three regularization parameters were determined automatically by analyzing the L-hypersurface, a generalization of the L-curve. The performance of the proposed method was numerically evaluated using (1) a synthetic flow composed of a mixture of divergence-free and curl-free flow fields and (2) simulated flow data from a patient-specific CFD (computational fluid dynamics) model of a human left heart. The numerical evaluations showed that the vector flow fields reconstructed from the Doppler components were in good agreement with the original velocities, with a relative error less than 20%. It was also demonstrated that a perturbation of the domain contour has little effect on the rebuilt velocity fields. The capability of our intraventricular vector flow mapping (iVFM) algorithm was finally illustrated on in vivo echocardiographic color Doppler data acquired in patients. The vortex that forms during the rapid filling was clearly deciphered. This improved iVFM algorithm is expected to have a significant clinical impact in the assessment of diastolic function.

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