Deep Learning Improves the Temporal Reproducibility of Aortic Measurement

Alex Bratt, Daniel J. Blezek, William J. Ryan, Kenneth A. Philbrick, Prabhakar Rajiah, Yasmeen K. Tandon, Lara A. Walkoff, Jason C. Cai, Emily N. Sheedy, Panagiotis Korfiatis, Eric E. Williamson, Bradley J. Erickson, Jeremy D. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging-based measurements form the basis of surgical decision making in patients with aortic aneurysm. Unfortunately, manual measurement suffer from suboptimal temporal reproducibility, which can lead to delayed or unnecessary intervention. We tested the hypothesis that deep learning could improve upon the temporal reproducibility of CT angiography-derived thoracic aortic measurements in the setting of imperfect ground-truth training data. To this end, we trained a standard deep learning segmentation model from which measurements of aortic volume and diameter could be extracted. First, three blinded cardiothoracic radiologists visually confirmed non-inferiority of deep learning segmentation maps with respect to manual segmentation on a 50-patient hold-out test cohort, demonstrating a slight preference for the deep learning method (p < 1e-5). Next, reproducibility was assessed by evaluating measured change (coefficient of reproducibility and standard deviation) in volume and diameter values extracted from segmentation maps in patients for whom multiple scans were available and whose aortas had been deemed stable over time by visual assessment (n = 57 patients, 206 scans). Deep learning temporal reproducibility was superior for measures of both volume (p < 0.008) and diameter (p < 1e-5) and reproducibility metrics compared favorably with previously reported values of manual inter-rater variability. Our work motivates future efforts to apply deep learning to aortic evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1189
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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