Assessment of intracoronary stent location and extension in intravascular ultrasound sequences

Med Phys. 2019 Feb;46(2):484-493. doi: 10.1002/mp.13273. Epub 2018 Dec 14.


Purpose: An intraluminal coronary stent is a metal scaffold deployed in a stenotic artery during percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In order to have an effective deployment, a stent should be optimally placed with regard to anatomical structures such as bifurcations and stenoses. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is a catheter-based imaging technique generally used for PCI guiding and assessing the correct placement of the stent. A novel approach that automatically detects the boundaries and the position of the stent along the IVUS pullback is presented. Such a technique aims at optimizing the stent deployment.

Methods: The method requires the identification of the stable frames of the sequence and the reliable detection of stent struts. Using these data, a measure of likelihood for a frame to contain a stent is computed. Then, a robust binary representation of the presence of the stent in the pullback is obtained applying an iterative and multiscale quantization of the signal to symbols using the Symbolic Aggregate approXimation algorithm.

Results: The technique was extensively validated on a set of 103 IVUS of sequences of in vivo coronary arteries containing metallic and bioabsorbable stents acquired through an international multicentric collaboration across five clinical centers. The method was able to detect the stent position with an overall F-measure of 86.4%, a Jaccard index score of 75% and a mean distance of 2.5 mm from manually annotated stent boundaries, and in bioabsorbable stents with an overall F-measure of 88.6%, a Jaccard score of 77.7 and a mean distance of 1.5 mm from manually annotated stent boundaries. Additionally, a map indicating the distance between the lumen and the stent along the pullback is created in order to show the angular sectors of the sequence in which the malapposition is present.

Conclusions: Results obtained comparing the automatic results vs the manual annotation of two observers shows that the method approaches the interobserver variability. Similar performances are obtained on both metallic and bioabsorbable stents, showing the flexibility and robustness of the method.

Keywords: IVUS; malapposition; stent; ultrasound.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Catheters
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Vessels / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention*
  • Stents*
  • Ultrasonography