Anatomical structure segmentation from early fetal ultrasound sequences using global pollination CAT swarm optimizer–based Chan–Vese model

  • M. A. FeminaEmail author
  • S. P. Raajagopalan
Original Article


The structure of an early fetal heart provides essential information for the diagnosis of fetus defects. Accurate segmentation of anatomical structure is a major challenging task because of the small size, low signal-to-noise ratio, and rapid movement of the ultrasound images. In recent years, active contour methods have found applications to ultrasound image segmentation. The familiar region-based Chan–Vese (RCV) model is a strong and flexible technique that is able to segment many types of images compared to other active contours. However, the solution trapping in local minima is the main drawback determined on the RCV model with the exposure of improper initial contours. Also, the RCV model showed poor results with this situation. More probably, the images having large intensity differences between global and local structures usually suffered from this problem. To solve this issue, we develop an improved version of the RCV model which is expected to achieve satisfactory segmentation performance, irrespective of the initial selection of the contour. We have formulated a new and hybrid meta-heuristic optimization algorithm namely global pollination–based CAT swarm (GPCATS) optimizer to solve the fitting energy minimization problem. In the GPCATS method, the global pollination step of the flower pollination algorithm (FPA) is used for improving the distance averaging of the CATS algorithm. The performance of the proposed method was analyzed on different fetal heart ultrasound videos acquired from 12 subjects. Each frame of each video was manually annotated in order to provide labels for training and validating the model. Experimental results of the proposed model proved that the precision of locating boundaries is improved greatly and requires only a reduced number of iterations (75% less) for convergence compared to the traditional RCV model. This proposed method also proved that our model not only enhances the accuracy of locating boundaries but also works stronger robustness than some other active contour methods.

Graphical Abstract

Anatomical structure segmentation from early fetal ultrasound sequences using GPCATS based Chan-Vese Model


Congenital heart defect Fetal heart Ultrasound Global pollination CAT swarm Chan–Vese Level set 



We thank our excellent radiological technician, Chennai, for his important input regarding the technical part of this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was conducted with approval from the Ethics Committee of Thasiah Medical Centre, Tamilnadu, India. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants’ guardians.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electrical and Electronics EngineeringKCG College of TechnologyChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Computer Science and EngineeringGKM College of Engineering and TechnologyChennaiIndia

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