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In Computer methods and programs in biomedicine ; h5-index 0.0

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE : For cerebrovascular segmentation from time-of-flight (TOF) magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), the focused issues are segmentation accuracy, vascular network coverage ratio, and cerebral artery and vein (CA/CV) separation. Therefore, cerebral artery segmentation is a challenging work, while a complete solution is lacking so far.

METHODS : The preprocessing of skull-stripping and Hessian-based feature extraction is first implemented to acquire an indirect prior knowledge of vascular distribution and shape. Then, a novel intensity- and shape-based Markov statistical modeling is proposed for complete cerebrovascular segmentation, where our low-level process employs a Gaussian mixture model to fit the intensity histogram of the skull-stripped TOF-MRA data, while our high-level process employs the vascular shape prior to construct the energy function. To regularize the individual data processes, Markov regularization parameter is automatically estimated by using a machine-learning algorithm. Further, cerebral artery and vein (CA/CV) separation is explored with a series of morphological logic operations, which are based on a direct priori knowledge on the relationship of arteriovenous topology and brain tissues in between TOF-MRA and MR-T1.

RESULTS : We employed 109 sets of public datasets from MIDAS for qualitative and quantitative assessment. The Dice similarity coefficient, false negative rate (FNR), and false positive rate (FPR) of 0.933, 0.158, and 0.091% on average, as well as CA/CV separation results with the agreement, FNR, and FPR of 0.976, 0.041, and 0.022 on average. For clinical visual assessment, our methods can segment various sizes of the vessel in different contrast region, especially performs better on vessels of small size in low contrast region.

CONCLUSION : Our methods obtained satisfying results in visual and quantitative evaluation. The proposed method is capable of accurate cerebrovascular segmentation and efficient CA/CV separation. Further, it can stimulate valuable clinical applications on the computer-assisted cerebrovascular intervention according to the neurosurgeon's recommendation.

Li Na, Zhou Shoujun, Wu Zonghan, Zhang Baochang, Zhao Gang


Cerebral artery-vein separation, Hessian-based characteristics, Markov label field, Morphology and logic operation