Accurate lumen diameter measurement in curved vessels in carotid ultrasound: an iterative scale-space and spatial transformation approach
Monitoring of cerebrovascular diseases via carotid ultrasound has started to become a routine. The measurement of image-based lumen diameter (LD) or inter-adventitial diameter (IAD) is a promising approach for quantification of the degree of stenosis. The manual measurements of LD/IAD are not reliable, subjective and slow. The curvature associated with the vessels along with non-uniformity in the plaque growth poses further challenges. This study uses a novel and generalized approach for automated LD and IAD measurement based on a combination of spatial transformation and scale-space. In this iterative procedure, the scale-space is first used to get the lumen axis which is then used with spatial image transformation paradigm to get a transformed image. The scale-space is then reapplied to retrieve the lumen region and boundary in the transformed framework. Then, inverse transformation is applied to display the results in original image framework. Two hundred and two patients' left and right common carotid artery (404 carotid images) B-mode ultrasound images were retrospectively analyzed. The validation of our algorithm has done against the two manual expert tracings. The coefficient of correlation between the two manual tracings for LD was 0.98 (p < 0.0001) and 0.99 (p < 0.0001), respectively. The precision of merit between the manual expert tracings and the automated system was 97.7 and 98.7%, respectively. The experimental analysis demonstrated superior performance of the proposed method over conventional approaches. Several statistical tests demonstrated the stability and reliability of the automated system.