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Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2015 Apr;10(4):447-58. doi: 10.1007/s11548-014-1104-y. Epub 2014 Aug 3.

Real-time aortic valve segmentation from transesophageal echocardiography sequence.

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Department of Cardiosurgery, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai, China.



Geometric features of the aortic valve play an important role in many applications, such as the clinical diagnostics, shape modeling and image-guided cardiac interventions, especially for the transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) procedure. However, few works have been reported on the topic of aortic valve segmentation from transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) sequences. To obtain accurate segmentation results and further provide valid support for TAVI, this paper presents a real-time method for segmenting the aortic valve from intraoperative, short-axis view TEE sequences, using an improved probability estimation and continuous max-flow (CMF) approach.


The proposed segmentation method includes two key stages: (1) In the probability estimation stage, five different prior frames spanning a cardiac circle are firstly selected with the aortic valve manually segmented by an expert. Then, the improved composite probability estimation (CPE) and single probability estimation (SPE) over the five prior frames are, respectively, constructed based on their radial average intensity and radial distance. (2) In the energy function construction stage, the similarity metric is calculated to find out the matching exponents between the current input TEE frame and the prior frames. The typical foreground and background intensities of prior images are therefore used to construct the corresponding energy function. Finally, the CMF approach, accelerated with a graphic processing unit (GPU), is employed to achieve the aortic valve contours in real time.


The evaluation study contained 30 sequences, with each containing 62-146 short-axis TEE frames. The results were compared with the manual segmentation (ground truth). The average symmetric contour distance (ASCD), dice metric (DM) and the reliability of the algorithm reached 0.85 ± 0.21 mm, 0.96 ± 0.01 and 0.90 (d = 0.95), respectively, and the computation time was 57.04 ± 8.98 ms per frame.


The experiment results reveal that the proposed method can achieve accurate and real-time segmentation of aortic valve from TEE sequence of short-axis view.

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