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21 March 2014 Arterial tree tracking from anatomical landmarks in magnetic resonance angiography scans
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This paper reports on arterial tree tracking in fourteen Contrast Enhanced MRA volumetric scans, given the positions of a predefined set of vascular landmarks, by using the A* algorithm to find the optimal path for each vessel based on voxel intensity and a learnt vascular probability atlas. The algorithm is intended for use in conjunction with an automatic landmark detection step, to enable fully automatic arterial tree tracking. The scan is filtered to give two further images using the top-hat transform with 4mm and 8mm cubic structuring elements. Vessels are then tracked independently on the scan in which the vessel of interest is best enhanced, as determined from knowledge of typical vessel diameter and surrounding structures. A vascular probability atlas modelling expected vessel location and orientation is constructed by non-rigidly registering the training scans to the test scan using a 3D thin plate spline to match landmark correspondences, and employing kernel density estimation with the ground truth center line points to form a probability density distribution. Threshold estimation by histogram analysis is used to segment background from vessel intensities. The A* algorithm is run using a linear cost function constructed from the threshold and the vascular atlas prior. Tracking results are presented for all major arteries excluding those in the upper limbs. An improvement was observed when tracking was informed by contextual information, with particular benefit for peripheral vessels.
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Alison O'Neil, Erin Beveridge, Graeme Houston, Lynne McCormick, and Ian Poole "Arterial tree tracking from anatomical landmarks in magnetic resonance angiography scans", Proc. SPIE 9034, Medical Imaging 2014: Image Processing, 90342S (21 March 2014);

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