Reproducibility of a combined artificial intelligence and optimal-surface graph-cut method to automate bronchial parameter extraction

Ivan Dudurych, Antonio Garcia-Uceda, Jens Petersen, Yihui Du, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart, Marleen de Bruijne*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

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Objectives: Computed tomography (CT)–based bronchial parameters correlate with disease status. Segmentation and measurement of the bronchial lumen and walls usually require significant manpower. We evaluate the reproducibility of a deep learning and optimal-surface graph-cut method to automatically segment the airway lumen and wall, and calculate bronchial parameters.

Methods: A deep-learning airway segmentation model was newly trained on 24 Imaging in Lifelines (ImaLife) low-dose chest CT scans. This model was combined with an optimal-surface graph-cut for airway wall segmentation. These tools were used to calculate bronchial parameters in CT scans of 188 ImaLife participants with two scans an average of 3 months apart. Bronchial parameters were compared for reproducibility assessment, assuming no change between scans.

Results: Of 376 CT scans, 374 (99%) were successfully measured. Segmented airway trees contained a mean of 10 generations and 250 branches. The coefficient of determination (R2) for the luminal area (LA) ranged from 0.93 at the trachea to 0.68 at the 6th generation, decreasing to 0.51 at the 8th generation. Corresponding values for Wall Area Percentage (WAP) were 0.86, 0.67, and 0.42, respectively. Bland–Altman analysis of LA and WAP per generation demonstrated mean differences close to 0; limits of agreement (LoA) were narrow for WAP and Pi10 (± 3.7% of mean) and wider for LA (± 16.4–22.8% for 2–6th generations). From the 7th generation onwards, there was a sharp decrease in reproducibility and a widening LoA.

Conclusion: The outlined approach for automatic bronchial parameter measurement on low-dose chest CT scans is a reliable way to assess the airway tree down to the 6th generation. Statement on clinical relevance: This reliable and fully automatic pipeline for bronchial parameter measurement on low-dose CT scans has potential applications in screening for early disease and clinical tasks such as virtual bronchoscopy or surgical planning, while also enabling the exploration of bronchial parameters in large datasets. Key Points: • Deep learning combined with optimal-surface graph-cut provides accurate airway lumen and wall segmentations on low-dose CT scans. • Analysis of repeat scans showed that the automated tools had moderate-to-good reproducibility of bronchial measurements down to the 6thgeneration airway. • Automated measurement of bronchial parameters enables the assessment of large datasets with less man-hours.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)6718–6725
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftEuropean Radiology
Volume33
Vroegere onlinedatum18-apr.-2023
DOI's
StatusPublished - okt.-2023

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