, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 82-96

Image Analysis for Cystic Fibrosis: Computer-Assisted Airway Wall and Vessel Measurements from Low-Dose, Limited Scan Lung CT Images

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Abstract

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans. When compared to those of normal children, airways of infants and young children with CF have thicker walls and are more dilated in high-resolution computed tomographic (CT) imaging. In this study, we develop computer-assisted methods for assessment of airway and vessel dimensions from axial, limited scan CT lung images acquired at low pediatric radiation doses. Two methods (threshold- and model-based) were developed to automatically measure airway and vessel sizes for pairs identified by a user. These methods were evaluated on chest CT images from 16 pediatric patients (eight infants and eight children) with different stages of mild CF related lung disease. Results of threshold-based, corrected with regression analysis, and model-based approaches correlated well with both electronic caliper measurements made by experienced observers and spirometric measurements of lung function. While the model-based approach results correlated slightly better with the human measurements than those of the threshold method, a hybrid method, combining these two methods, resulted in the best results.