A CT-Based Automated Algorithm for Airway Segmentation Using Freeze-and-Grow Propagation and Deep Learning

Academic Article


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease, and quantitative CT-based bronchial phenotypes are of increasing interest as a means of exploring COPD sub-phenotypes, establishing disease progression, and evaluating intervention outcomes. Reliable, fully automated, and accurate segmentation of pulmonary airway trees is critical to such exploration. We present a novel approach of multi-parametric freeze-and-grow (FG) propagation which starts with a conservative segmentation parameter and captures finer details through iterative parameter relaxation. First, a CT intensity-based FG algorithm is developed and applied for airway tree segmentation. A more efficient version is produced using deep learning methods generating airway lumen likelihood maps from CT images, which are input to the FG algorithm. Both CT intensity- and deep learning-based algorithms are fully automated, and their performance, in terms of repeat scan reproducibility, accuracy, and leakages, is evaluated and compared with results from several state-of-the-art methods including an industry-standard one, where segmentation results were manually reviewed and corrected. Both new algorithms show a reproducibility of 95% or higher for total lung capacity (TLC) repeat CT scans. Experiments on TLC CT scans from different imaging sites at standard and low radiation dosages show that both new algorithms outperform the other methods in terms of leakages and branch-level accuracy. Considering the performance and execution times, the deep learning-based FG algorithm is a fully automated option for large multi-site studies.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21456404
  • Author List

  • Nadeem SA; Hoffman EA; Sieren JC; Comellas AP; Bhatt SP; Barjaktarevic IZ; Abtin F; Saha PK
  • Start Page

  • 405
  • End Page

  • 418
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 1