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In European heart journal. Cardiovascular Imaging

AIMS : To present and validate a fully automated, deep learning (DL)-based branch-wise coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring algorithm on a multi-centre dataset.

METHODS AND RESULTS : We retrospectively included 1171 patients referred for a CAC computed tomography examination. Total CAC scores for each case were manually evaluated by a human reader. Next, each dataset was fully automatically evaluated by the DL-based software solution with output of the total CAC score and sub-scores per coronary artery (CA) branch [right coronary artery (RCA), left main (LM), left anterior descending (LAD), and circumflex (CX)]. Three readers independently manually scored the CAC for all CA branches for 300 cases from a single centre and formed the consensus using a majority vote rule, serving as the reference standard. Established CAC cut-offs for the total Agatston score were used for risk group assignments. The performance of the algorithm was evaluated using metrics for risk class assignment based on total Agatston score, and unweighted Cohen's Kappa for branch label assignment. The DL-based software solution yielded a class accuracy of 93% (1085/1171) with a sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of detecting non-zero coronary calcium being 97%, 93%, and 95%. The overall accuracy of the algorithm for branch label classification was 94% (LM: 89%, LAD: 91%, CX: 93%, RCA: 100%) with a Cohen's kappa of k = 0.91.

CONCLUSION : Our results demonstrate that fully automated total and vessel-specific CAC scoring is feasible using a DL-based algorithm. There was a high agreement with the manually assessed total CAC from a multi-centre dataset and the vessel-specific scoring demonstrated consistent and reproducible results.

Winkel David J, Suryanarayana V Reddappagari, Ali A Mohamed, Görich Johannes, Buß Sebastian Johannes, Mendoza Axel, Schwemmer Chris, Sharma Puneet, Schoepf U Joseph, Rapaka Saikiran


X-ray computed, calcium, coronary vessels, deep learning, humans, risk assessment, tomography