AUTOMATIC LOCALIZATION OF INTIMAL AND ADVENTITIAL CAROTID ARTERY LAYERS WITH NONINVASIVE ULTRASOUND: A NOVEL ALGORITHM PROVIDING SCAN QUALITY CONTROL

Alessandro C. Rossi, Peter J. Brands*, Arnold P. G. Hoeks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Transcutaneous ultrasound measurements of common carotid artery (CCA) diameter and intima-media thickness (IMT) give insight on arterial dynamics and anatomy, both correlating well with atherosclerosis and risk of cardiovascular disease. We propose a novel automatic algorithm to estimate CCA diameter and IMT in ultrasound (US) images, based on separate analysis of anterior and posterior CCA walls and able to distinguish internal (intima-intima) and external (adventitia-adventitia) diameter. The method combines off-line signal-and image-processing techniques to accommodate echo images acquired at a frame rate of 30 Hz and composed directly from RF data, circumventing digital video-grabbing. Segmentation consists of automatic CCA recognition, followed by adventitial delineation performed with a sustain-attack filter with exponentially decaying reference functions. Intimal delineation is then based on the multiscale anisotropic barycenter (MAB), which is an extension of a known delineation method involving the "first order absolute central moment" of the echo amplitude. An automatic measure of the quality of the US beam incidence for each wall is superimosed on the CCA contour overlays for visual feedback. Validation is carried out on 36 US CCA acquisitions from 12 healthy volunteers, as well as on synthetic US images. Results indicate good accuracy on synthetic US images (within 1.3% for diameter and 3% for IMT). The in vivo intra-recording beat-to-beat variations are on average lower than 50 mm for external diameter and IMT, and lower than 100 mm for internal diameter. A comparison with a commercial device (ART. LAB system) shows that the proposed algorithm performs better in terms of inter-recording precision. The beam incidence control significantly improves the repeatability of IMT estimates, and motivates sonographers actively to maintain a proper scan plane throughout the acquisition to minimize the incidence of confounding factors. The method is clinically viable, providing robust estimates of CCA internal and external diameter and IMT waveforms for both CCA walls, even at a low B-mode update rate of 30 Hz (E-mail: peter. brands@esaote.nl and alessandro.rossi@bf.unimaas.nl)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-479
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Keywords

  • Carotid artery
  • Diameter
  • Edge detection
  • Intima-media thickness
  • Segmentation
  • Ultrasound

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