Extraction of blood vessel structure is important for improving planning, navigation and tracking in several
interventional procedures. Centerline based registration methods have proven to be fast for clinical applications and an
effective way of registering multi-modal images. Here, we present a novel blood vessel centerline extraction method in
3D. Our method consists of two parts, namely Multiscale Vessel Enhancement Filtering (MVEF) and Centerline
Extraction using Vessel Direction (CEVD). Our proposed MVEF has an improved noise reduction and better Gaussian
profile at the vessel cross-sections compared to conventional MVEF. The CEVD is our novel method for tracing the
peaks of the Gaussian profile of the local MVEF at the vessel cross-sections. The peak of the Gaussian profile provides
the center position of the blood vessels. The novelty of this method is in effectively finding only the connected
centerlines of the blood vessels of interest. The proposed method was evaluated using both synthetic and medical
images. On comparing with Frangi's vesselness filtering combined with thinning, our method is shown to be
approximately 5 times faster. The results also show that our method is customized to detect only the desired blood
vessels, thereby eliminating the detection of unwanted vessel-like structures. The centerline accuracy was evaluated by
comparing with ground truth data created by finding Hough circle centers at each cross-section of the vessel structure.
The modified symmetric Hausdorff distance between our result and the ground truth was approximately 1 pixel for both
synthetic and medical images.