A No-Reference Quality Metric for Retinal Vessel Tree Segmentation
Due to inevitable differences between the data used for training modern CAD systems and the data encountered when they are deployed in clinical scenarios, the ability to automatically assess the quality of predictions when no expert annotation is available can be critical. In this paper, we propose a new method for quality assessment of retinal vessel tree segmentations in the absence of a reference ground-truth. For this, we artificially degrade expert-annotated vessel map segmentations and then train a CNN to predict the similarity between the degraded images and their corresponding ground-truths. This similarity can be interpreted as a proxy to the quality of a segmentation. The proposed model can produce a visually meaningful quality score, effectively predicting the quality of a vessel tree segmentation in the absence of a manually segmented reference. We further demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by applying it to automatically find a threshold for soft probabilistic segmentations on a per-image basis. For an independent state-of-the-art unsupervised vessel segmentation technique, the thresholds selected by our approach lead to statistically significant improvements in F1-score \((+2.67\%)\) and Matthews Correlation Coefficient (+\(3.11\%\)) over the thresholds derived from ROC analysis on the training set. The score is also shown to correlate strongly with F1 and MCC when a reference is available.
This work is financed by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation - COMPETE 2020 Programme, and by National Funds through the FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia within project CMUP-ERI/TIC/0028/2014. Teresa Araújo is funded by the FCT grant contract SFRH/BD/122365/2016. The Titan Xp used for this research was donated by the NVIDIA Corporation.
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