Automatic segmentation of 3D micro-CT coronary vascular images

Jack Lee, Patricia Beighley, Erik Ritman, Nicolas Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Although there are many algorithms available in the literature aimed at segmentation and model reconstruction of 3D angiographic images, many are focused on characterizing only a part of the vascular network. This study is motivated by the recent emerging prospects of whole-organ simulations in coronary hemodynamics, autoregulation and tissue oxygen delivery for which anatomically accurate vascular meshes of extended scale are highly desirable. The key requirements of a reconstruction technique for this purpose are automation of processing and sub-voxel accuracy. We have designed a vascular reconstruction algorithm which satisfies these two criteria. It combines automatic seeding and tracking of vessels with radius detection based on active contours. The method was first examined through a series of tests on synthetic data, for accuracy in reproduced topology and morphology of the network and was shown to exhibit errors of less than 0.5 voxel for centerline and radius detections, and 3° for initial seed directions. The algorithm was then applied on real-world data of full rat coronary structure acquired using a micro-CT scanner at 20 μm voxel size. For this, a further validation of radius quantification was carried out against a partially rescanned portion of the network at 8 μm voxel size, which estimated less than 10% radius error in vessels larger than 2 voxels in radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-647
Number of pages18
JournalMedical Image Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Automatic
  • Blood vessel
  • Coronary vasculature
  • Reconstruction
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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