Cardiac electrophysiological (EP) imaging involves solving an inverse problem that infers cardiac electrical activity from body-surface electrocardiography data on a physical domain defined by the body torso. To avoid unreasonable solutions that may fit the data, this inference is often guided by data-independent prior assumptions about different properties of cardiac electrical sources as well as the physical domain. However, these prior assumptions may involve errors and uncertainties that could affect the inference accuracy. For example, common prior assumptions on the source properties, such as fixed spatial and/or temporal smoothness or sparseness assumptions, may not necessarily match the true source property at different conditions, leading to uncertainties in the inference. Furthermore, prior assumptions on the physical domain, such as the anatomy and tissue conductivity of different organs in the thorax model, represent an approximation of the physical domain, introducing errors to the inference. To determine the robustness of the EP imaging systems for future clinical practice, it is important to identify these errors/uncertainties and assess their impact on the solution. This dissertation focuses on the quantification and reduction of the impact of uncertainties caused by prior assumptions/models on cardiac source properties as well as anatomical modeling uncertainties on the EP imaging solution.

To assess the effect of fixed prior assumptions/models about cardiac source properties on the solution of EP imaging, we propose a novel yet simple Lp-norm regularization method for volumetric cardiac EP imaging. This study reports the necessity of an adaptive prior model (rather than fixed model) for constraining the complex spatiotemporally changing properties of the cardiac sources. We then propose a multiple-model Bayesian approach to cardiac EP imaging that employs a continuous combination of prior models, each re-effecting a specific spatial property for volumetric sources. The 3D source estimation is then obtained as a weighted combination of solutions across all models. Including a continuous combination of prior models, our proposed method reduces the chance of mismatch between prior models and true source properties, which in turn enhances the robustness of the EP imaging solution.

To quantify the impact of anatomical modeling uncertainties on the EP imaging solution, we propose a systematic statistical framework. Founded based on statistical shape modeling and unscented transform, our method quantifies anatomical modeling uncertainties and establish their relation to the EP imaging solution. Applied on anatomical models generated from different image resolutions and different segmentations, it reports the robustness of EP imaging solution to these anatomical shape-detail variations. We then propose a simplified anatomical model for the heart that only incorporates certain subject-specific anatomical parameters, while discarding local shape details. Exploiting less resources and processing for successful EP imaging, this simplified model provides a simple clinically-compatible anatomical modeling experience for EP imaging systems.

Different components of our proposed methods are validated through a comprehensive set of synthetic and real-data experiments, including various typical pathological conditions and/or diagnostic procedures, such as myocardial infarction and pacing.

Overall, the methods presented in this dissertation for the quantification and reduction of uncertainties in cardiac EP imaging enhance the robustness of EP imaging, helping to close the gap between EP imaging in research and its clinical application.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Heart--Imaging; Heart--Electric properties; Heart--Models

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Computing and Information Sciences (Ph.D.)


Dana Brooks

Advisor/Committee Member

Nathan Cahill

Advisor/Committee Member

Anne Haake


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at RC683.5.I42 D45 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes