Impact of automatically detected motion artifacts on coronary calcium scoring in chest computed tomography

J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2018 Oct;5(4):044007. doi: 10.1117/1.JMI.5.4.044007. Epub 2018 Dec 11.


The amount of coronary artery calcification (CAC) quantified in computed tomography (CT) scans enables prediction of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. However, interscan variability of CAC quantification is high, especially in scans made without ECG synchronization. We propose a method for automatic detection of CACs that are severely affected by cardiac motion. Subsequently, we evaluate the impact of such CACs on CAC quantification and CVD risk determination. This study includes 1000 baseline and 585 one-year follow-up low-dose chest CTs from the National Lung Screening Trial. About 415 baseline scans are used to train and evaluate a convolutional neural network that identifies observer determined CACs affected by severe motion artifacts. Therefore, 585 paired scans acquired at baseline and follow-up were used to evaluate the impact of severe motion artifacts on CAC quantification and risk categorization. Based on the CAC amount, the scans were categorized into four standard CVD risk categories. The method identified CACs affected by severe motion artifacts with 85.2% accuracy. Moreover, reproducibility of CAC scores in scan pairs is higher in scans containing mostly CACs not affected by severe cardiac motion. Hence, the proposed method enables identification of scans affected by severe cardiac motion, where CAC quantification may not be reproducible.

Keywords: calcium scoring; cardiac motion; chest computed tomography; convolutional neural network.