MR images of the fetus allow non-invasive analysis of the fetal brain. Quantitative analysis of fetal brain development requires automatic brain tissue segmentation that is typically preceded by segmentation of the intracranial volume (ICV). This is challenging because fetal MR images visualize the whole moving fetus and in addition partially visualize the maternal body. This paper presents an automatic method for segmentation of the ICV in fetal MR images. The method employs a multi-scale convolutional neural network in 2D slices to enable learning spatial information from larger context as well as detailed local information. The method is developed and evaluated with 30 fetal T2-weighted MRI scans (average age $33.2\pm1.2$ weeks postmenstrual age). The set contains $10$ scans acquired in axial, $10$ in coronal and $10$ in sagittal imaging planes. A reference standard was defined in all images by manual annotation of the intracranial volume in $10$ equidistantly distributed slices. The automatic analysis was performed by training and testing the network using scans acquired in the representative imaging plane as well as combining the training data from all imaging planes. On average, the automatic method achieved Dice coefficients of 0.90 for the axial images, 0.90 for the coronal images and 0.92 for the sagittal images. Combining the training sets resulted in average Dice coefficients of 0.91 for the axial images, 0.95 for the coronal images, and 0.92 for the sagittal images. The results demonstrate that the evaluated method achieved good performance in extracting ICV in fetal MR scans regardless of the imaging plane.
Aug 04 2017 cs.CV
MR-only radiotherapy treatment planning requires accurate MR-to-CT synthesis. Current deep learning methods for MR-to-CT synthesis depend on pairwise aligned MR and CT training images of the same patient. However, misalignment between paired images could lead to errors in synthesized CT images. To overcome this, we propose to train a generative adversarial network (GAN) with unpaired MR and CT images. A GAN consisting of two synthesis convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and two discriminator CNNs was trained with cycle consistency to transform 2D brain MR image slices into 2D brain CT image slices and vice versa. Brain MR and CT images of 24 patients were analyzed. A quantitative evaluation showed that the model was able to synthesize CT images that closely approximate reference CT images, and was able to outperform a GAN model trained with paired MR and CT images.
Aug 04 2017 cs.CV
Segmentation of the heart in cardiac cine MR is clinically used to quantify cardiac function. We propose a fully automatic method for segmentation and disease classification using cardiac cine MR images. A convolutional neural network (CNN) was designed to simultaneously segment the left ventricle (LV), right ventricle (RV) and myocardium in end-diastole (ED) and end-systole (ES) images. Features derived from the obtained segmentations were used in a Random Forest classifier to label patients as suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, heart failure following myocardial infarction, right ventricular abnormality, or no cardiac disease. The method was developed and evaluated using a balanced dataset containing images of 100 patients, which was provided in the MICCAI 2017 automated cardiac diagnosis challenge (ACDC). The segmentation and classification pipeline were evaluated in a four-fold stratified cross-validation. Average Dice scores between reference and automatically obtained segmentations were 0.94, 0.88 and 0.87 for the LV, RV and myocardium. The classifier assigned 91% of patients to the correct disease category. Segmentation and disease classification took 5 s per patient. The results of our study suggest that image-based diagnosis using cine MR cardiac scans can be performed automatically with high accuracy.
Apr 21 2017 cs.CV
In this work we propose a deep learning network for deformable image registration (DIRNet). The DIRNet consists of a convolutional neural network (ConvNet) regressor, a spatial transformer, and a resampler. The ConvNet analyzes a pair of fixed and moving images and outputs parameters for the spatial transformer, which generates the displacement vector field that enables the resampler to warp the moving image to the fixed image. The DIRNet is trained end-to-end by unsupervised optimization of a similarity metric between input image pairs. A trained DIRNet can be applied to perform registration on unseen image pairs in one pass, thus non-iteratively. Evaluation was performed with registration of images of handwritten digits (MNIST) and cardiac cine MR scans (Sunnybrook Cardiac Data). The results demonstrate that registration with DIRNet is as accurate as a conventional deformable image registration method with substantially shorter execution times.
Accurate delineation of the left ventricle (LV) is an important step in evaluation of cardiac function. In this paper, we present an automatic method for segmentation of the LV in cardiac CT angiography (CCTA) scans. Segmentation is performed in two stages. First, a bounding box around the LV is detected using a combination of three convolutional neural networks (CNNs). Subsequently, to obtain the segmentation of the LV, voxel classification is performed within the defined bounding box using a CNN. The study included CCTA scans of sixty patients, fifty scans were used to train the CNNs for the LV localization, five scans were used to train LV segmentation and the remaining five scans were used for testing the method. Automatic segmentation resulted in the average Dice coefficient of 0.85 and mean absolute surface distance of 1.1 mm. The results demonstrate that automatic segmentation of the LV in CCTA scans using voxel classification with convolutional neural networks is feasible.
Apr 20 2017 cs.CV
Localization of anatomical structures is a prerequisite for many tasks in medical image analysis. We propose a method for automatic localization of one or more anatomical structures in 3D medical images through detection of their presence in 2D image slices using a convolutional neural network (ConvNet). A single ConvNet is trained to detect presence of the anatomical structure of interest in axial, coronal, and sagittal slices extracted from a 3D image. To allow the ConvNet to analyze slices of different sizes, spatial pyramid pooling is applied. After detection, 3D bounding boxes are created by combining the output of the ConvNet in all slices. In the experiments 200 chest CT, 100 cardiac CT angiography (CTA), and 100 abdomen CT scans were used. The heart, ascending aorta, aortic arch, and descending aorta were localized in chest CT scans, the left cardiac ventricle in cardiac CTA scans, and the liver in abdomen CT scans. Localization was evaluated using the distances between automatically and manually defined reference bounding box centroids and walls. The best results were achieved in localization of structures with clearly defined boundaries (e.g. aortic arch) and the worst when the structure boundary was not clearly visible (e.g. liver). The method was more robust and accurate in localization multiple structures.
Apr 13 2017 cs.CV
We propose an automatic method using dilated convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for segmentation of the myocardium and blood pool in cardiovascular MR (CMR) of patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). Ten training and ten test CMR scans cropped to an ROI around the heart were provided in the MICCAI 2016 HVSMR challenge. A dilated CNN with a receptive field of 131x131 voxels was trained for myocardium and blood pool segmentation in axial, sagittal and coronal image slices. Performance was evaluated within the HVSMR challenge. Automatic segmentation of the test scans resulted in Dice indices of 0.80$\pm$0.06 and 0.93$\pm$0.02, average distances to boundaries of 0.96$\pm$0.31 and 0.89$\pm$0.24 mm, and Hausdorff distances of 6.13$\pm$3.76 and 7.07$\pm$3.01 mm for the myocardium and blood pool, respectively. Segmentation took 41.5$\pm$14.7 s per scan. In conclusion, dilated CNNs trained on a small set of CMR images of CHD patients showing large anatomical variability provide accurate myocardium and blood pool segmentations.
Apr 12 2017 cs.CV
Automatic segmentation of medical images is an important task for many clinical applications. In practice, a wide range of anatomical structures are visualised using different imaging modalities. In this paper, we investigate whether a single convolutional neural network (CNN) can be trained to perform different segmentation tasks. A single CNN is trained to segment six tissues in MR brain images, the pectoral muscle in MR breast images, and the coronary arteries in cardiac CTA. The CNN therefore learns to identify the imaging modality, the visualised anatomical structures, and the tissue classes. For each of the three tasks (brain MRI, breast MRI and cardiac CTA), this combined training procedure resulted in a segmentation performance equivalent to that of a CNN trained specifically for that task, demonstrating the high capacity of CNN architectures. Hence, a single system could be used in clinical practice to automatically perform diverse segmentation tasks without task-specific training.
Apr 12 2017 cs.CV
Automatic segmentation in MR brain images is important for quantitative analysis in large-scale studies with images acquired at all ages. This paper presents a method for the automatic segmentation of MR brain images into a number of tissue classes using a convolutional neural network. To ensure that the method obtains accurate segmentation details as well as spatial consistency, the network uses multiple patch sizes and multiple convolution kernel sizes to acquire multi-scale information about each voxel. The method is not dependent on explicit features, but learns to recognise the information that is important for the classification based on training data. The method requires a single anatomical MR image only. The segmentation method is applied to five different data sets: coronal T2-weighted images of preterm infants acquired at 30 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) and 40 weeks PMA, axial T2- weighted images of preterm infants acquired at 40 weeks PMA, axial T1-weighted images of ageing adults acquired at an average age of 70 years, and T1-weighted images of young adults acquired at an average age of 23 years. The method obtained the following average Dice coefficients over all segmented tissue classes for each data set, respectively: 0.87, 0.82, 0.84, 0.86 and 0.91. The results demonstrate that the method obtains accurate segmentations in all five sets, and hence demonstrates its robustness to differences in age and acquisition protocol.