Automated Artery Localization and Vessel Wall Segmentation of Magnetic Resonance Vessel Wall Images using Tracklet Refinement and Polar Conversion
Li Chen, Jie Sun, Gador Canton, Niranjan Balu, Xihai Zhao, Rui Li, Thomas S. Hatsukami, Jenq-Neng Hwang, Chun Yuan
(Submitted on 4 Sep 2019)
Quantitative analysis of vessel wall structures by automated vessel wall segmentation provides useful imaging biomarkers in evaluating atherosclerotic lesions and plaque progression time-efficiently. To quantify vessel wall features, drawing lumen and outer wall contours of the artery of interest is required. To alleviate manual labor in contour drawing, some computer-assisted tools exist, but manual preprocessing steps, such as region of interest identification and boundary initialization are needed. In addition, the prior knowledge of the ring shape of vessel wall is not taken into consideration in designing the segmentation method. In this work, trained on manual vessel wall contours, a fully automated artery localization and vessel wall segmentation system is proposed. A tracklet refinement algorithm is used to robustly identify the centerlines of arteries of interest from a neural network localization architecture. Image patches are extracted from the centerlines and segmented in a polar coordinate system to use 3D information and to overcome problems such as contour discontinuity and interference from neighboring vessels. From a carotid artery dataset with 116 subjects (3406 slices) and a popliteal artery dataset with 5 subjects (289 slices), the proposed system is shown to robustly identify the artery of interest and segment the vessel wall. The proposed system demonstrates better performance on the carotid dataset with a Dice similarity coefficient of 0.824, compared with traditional vessel wall segmentation methods, Dice of 0.576, and traditional convolutional neural network approaches, Dice of 0.747. This vessel wall segmentation system will facilitate research on atherosclerosis and assist radiologists in image review.
arXiv link: https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.02087
Journal paper version under review.