Automatic Catheter and Tube Detection in Pediatric X-ray Images Using a Scale-Recurrent Network and Synthetic Data

  • X. YiEmail author
  • Scott Adams
  • Paul Babyn
  • Abdul Elnajmi


Catheters are commonly inserted life supporting devices. Because serious complications can arise from malpositioned catheters, X-ray images are used to assess the position of a catheter immediately after placement. Previous computer vision approaches to detect catheters on X-ray images were either rule-based or only capable of processing a limited number or type of catheters projecting over the chest. With the resurgence of deep learning, supervised training approaches are beginning to show promising results. However, dense annotation maps are required, and the work of a human annotator is difficult to scale. In this work, we propose an automatic approach for detection of catheters and tubes on pediatric X-ray images. We propose a simple way of synthesizing catheters on X-ray images to generate a training dataset by exploiting the fact that catheters are essentially tubular structures with various cross sectional profiles. Further, we develop a UNet-style segmentation network with a recurrent module that can process inputs at multiple scales and iteratively refine the detection result. By training on adult chest X-rays, the proposed network exhibits promising detection results on pediatric chest/abdomen X-rays in terms of both precision and recall, with Fβ = 0.8. The approach described in this work may contribute to the development of clinical systems to detect and assess the placement of catheters on X-ray images. This may provide a solution to triage and prioritize X-ray images with potentially malpositioned catheters for a radiologist’s urgent review and help automate radiology reporting.


X-ray Catheter detection Multi-scale Deep learning Recurrent network Pediatric 



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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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