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In Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine

Background: The morphological structure and tissue composition of a coronary atherosclerotic plaque determine its stability, which can be assessed by intravascular optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. However, plaque characterization relies on the interpretation of large datasets by well-trained observers. This study aims to develop a convolutional neural network (CNN) method to automatically extract tissue features from OCT images to characterize the main components of a coronary atherosclerotic plaque (fibrous, lipid, and calcification). The method is based on a novel CNN architecture called TwopathCNN, which is utilized in a cascaded structure. According to the evaluation, this proposed method is effective and robust in the characterization of coronary plaque composition from in vivo OCT imaging. On average, the method achieves 0.86 in F1-score and 0.88 in accuracy. The TwopathCNN architecture and cascaded structure show significant improvement in performance (p < 0.05). CNN with cascaded structure can greatly improve the performance of characterization compared to the conventional CNN methods and machine learning methods. This method has a higher efficiency, which may be proven to be a promising diagnostic tool in the detection of coronary plaques.

Yin Yifan, He Chunliu, Xu Biao, Li Zhiyong

2021

cascaded structure, convolutional neural network, optical coherence tomography, plaque characterization, two-pathway architecture