Carotid Plaque 3D Compound Imaging and Echo-Morphology Analysis: a Bayesian Approach
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference Proceedings
This paper describes a method for volume reconstruction of the carotid plaque and presents a novel local characterization of its echo-morphology. The data is composed by a series of nearly parallel ultrasound images (3D Compound Imaging) and the acquisition is performed using traditional noninvasive ultrasound equipment available in most medical facilities, without need of a spatial locator device. The reconstruction algorithm uses the observed pixels inside the plaque, which were obtained in a
... pre-segmentation stage performed under medical guidance . The paper proposes a Bayesian algorithm which estimates the underlying volume inside the plaque, by filtering and interpolating the data in order to remove speckle noise and fill nonobserved regions, respectively. This volume is further used in plaque echo-morphology analysis. The observation model is based on the Rayleigh distribution, commonly used to model speckle noise in ultrasound images. A prior model based on the edge preserving Total Variation Gibbs distribution is also used to fill the gaps on non-evenly spaced observations. An energy function is derived from these models and an iterative algorithm computes its minimizer. The estimated function, defined in a given volume of interest, is used in global and local plaque characterization, namely to estimate its average levels of stenosis, echo-morphology and to identify vulnerable foci inside the plaque. The goal is to make atherosclerosis diagnosis more accurate and complete than using traditional 2D ultrasound analysis.