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Med Image Anal. 2010 Feb;14(1):70-84. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Optimizing boundary detection via Simulated Search with applications to multi-modal heart segmentation.

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Philips Research Europe - Aachen, 52066 Aachen, Germany.


Segmentation of medical images can be achieved with the help of model-based algorithms. Reliable boundary detection is a crucial component to obtain robust and accurate segmentation results and to enable full automation. This is especially important if the anatomy being segmented is too variable to initialize a mean shape model such that all surface regions are close to the desired contours. Several boundary detection algorithms are widely used in the literature. Most use some trained image appearance model to characterize and detect the desired boundaries. Although parameters of the boundary detection can vary over the model surface and are trained on images, their performance (i.e., accuracy and reliability of boundary detection) can only be assessed as an integral part of the entire segmentation algorithm. In particular, assessment of boundary detection cannot be done locally and independently on model parameterization and internal energies controlling geometric model properties. In this paper, we propose a new method for the local assessment of boundary detection called Simulated Search. This method takes any boundary detection function and evaluates its performance for a single model landmark in terms of an estimated geometric boundary detection error. In consequence, boundary detection can be optimized per landmark during model training. We demonstrate the success of the method for cardiac image segmentation. In particular we show that the Simulated Search improves the capture range and the accuracy of the boundary detection compared to a traditional training scheme. We also illustrate how the Simulated Search can be used to identify suitable classes of features when addressing a new segmentation task. Finally, we show that the Simulated Search enables multi-modal heart segmentation using a single algorithmic framework. On computed tomography and magnetic resonance images, average segmentation errors (surface-to-surface distances) for the four chambers and the trunks of the large vessels are in the order of 0.8 mm. For 3D rotational X-ray angiography images of the left atrium and pulmonary veins, the average error is 1.3 mm. In all modalities, the locally optimized boundary detection enables fully automatic segmentation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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