A multiscale dynamic programming procedure for boundary detection in ultrasonic artery images

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2000 Feb;19(2):127-42. doi: 10.1109/42.836372.


Ultrasonic measurements of human carotid and femoral artery walls are conventionally obtained by manually tracing interfaces between tissue layers. The drawbacks of this method are the interobserver variability and inefficiency. In this paper, we present a new automated method which reduces these problems. By applying a multiscale dynamic programming (DP) algorithm, approximate vessel wall positions are first estimated in a coarse-scale image, which then guide the detection of the boundaries in a fine-scale image. In both cases, DP is used for finding a global optimum for a cost function. The cost function is a weighted sum of terms, in fuzzy expression forms, representing image features and geometrical characteristics of the vessel interfaces. The weights are adjusted by a training procedure using human expert tracings. Operator interventions, if needed, also take effect under the framework of global optimality. This reduces the amount of human intervention and, hence, variability due to subjectiveness. By incorporating human knowledge and experience, the algorithm becomes more robust. A thorough evaluation of the method in the clinical environment shows that interobserver variability is evidently decreased and so is the overall analysis time. We conclude that the automated procedure can replace the manual procedure and leads to an improved performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Artery, Common / diagnostic imaging*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Femoral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Ultrasonography / methods