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In Computerized medical imaging and graphics : the official journal of the Computerized Medical Imaging Society

Segmentation of Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS) images into Lumen and Media (interior and exterior) artery vessel walls is highly clinically relevant in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. When fused with position data, such segmentations also play a key role in reconstructing 3D representations of arteries. Automated segmentation in real-time is known to be a difficult image analysis problem, primarily due to artefacts commonly present in IVUS ultrasound images such as shadows, guide-wire effects, and side-branches. An additional challenge is the limited amount of expert labelled IVUS data, which limits the application of many well-performing deep learning models from other domains. To exploit the circular layered structure of the artery in B-Mode images, we propose a multi-class fully convolutional semantic segmentation network based on a minimal U-Net architecture augmented with learned translation dependence in the polar domain. The coordinate awareness in the multi-class segmentation allows the model to exploit relative spatial context about the interior and exterior vessel walls which are simply separable in polar coordinates. After training on 109 expert-labelled examples, our model significantly outperforms the state-of-the art in terms of mean Jaccard Measure (0.91 vs. 0.89) and Hausdorff distance (0.32 mm vs. 0.48 mm) on Media segmentation, and reaches equivalent performance on Lumen segmentation when evaluated on a standard publicly available dataset of 326 IVUS B-Mode images captured by 20 Mhz ultrasound probes. Using an order of magnitude fewer trainable parameters than the previous state-of-the-art, our model runs over 50 times faster and is able to execute in only 3 ms on a common GPU, achieving both leading accuracy and practical real-time performance.

Szarski Martin, Chauhan Sunita


Automated segmentation, Image processing, Intravascular Ultrasound, Neural networks