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Automated segmentation and quantification of liver and spleen from CT images using normalized probabilistic atlases and enhancement estimation.

Medical physics

Tomography, X-Ray Computed, methods, Humans, Imaging, Three-Dimensional, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Liver, radiography, Pattern Recognition, Automated, Radiographic Image Enhancement, Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Reference Values, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Spleen, Subtraction Technique, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence

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      Abstract

      To investigate the potential of the normalized probabilistic atlases and computer-aided medical image analysis to automatically segment and quantify livers and spleens for extracting imaging biomarkers (volume and height). A clinical tool was developed to segment livers and spleen from 257 abdominal contrast-enhanced CT studies. There were 51 normal livers, 44 normal spleens, 128 splenomegaly, 59 hepatomegaly, and 23 partial hepatectomy cases. 20 more contrast-enhanced CT scans from a public site with manual segmentations of mainly pathological livers were used to test the method. Data were acquired on a variety of scanners from different manufacturers and at varying resolution. Probabilistic atlases of livers and spleens were created using manually segmented data from ten noncontrast CT scans (five male and five female). The organ locations were modeled in the physical space and normalized to the position of an anatomical landmark, the xiphoid. The construction and exploitation of liver and spleen atlases enabled the automated quantifications of liver/spleen volumes and heights (midhepatic liver height and cephalocaudal spleen height) from abdominal CT data. The quantification was improved incrementally by a geodesic active contour, patient specific contrast-enhancement characteristics passed to an adaptive convolution, and correction for shape and location errors. The livers and spleens were robustly segmented from normal and pathological cases. For the liver, the Dice/Tanimoto volume overlaps were 96.2%/92.7%, the volume/height errors were 2.2%/2.8%, the root-mean-squared error (RMSE) was 2.3 mm, and the average surface distance (ASD) was 1.2 mm. The spleen quantification led to 95.2%/91% Dice/Tanimoto overlaps, 3.3%/ 1.7% volume/height errors, 1.1 mm RMSE, and 0.7 ASD. The correlations (R2) with clinical/manual height measurements were 0.97 and 0.93 for the spleen and liver, respectively (p < 0.0001). No significant difference (p > 0.2) was found comparing interobserver and automatic-manual volume/height errors for liver and spleen. The algorithm is robust to segmenting normal and enlarged spleens and livers, and in the presence of tumors and large morphological changes due to partial hepatectomy. Imaging biomarkers of the liver and spleen from automated computer-assisted tools have the potential to assist the diagnosis of abdominal disorders from routine analysis of clinical data and guide clinical management.

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      2826383
      20229887

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