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Towards automated extraction of 2D standard fetal head planes from 3D ultrasound acquisitions: A clinical evaluation and quality assessment comparison

Skelton, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-0132-7948, Matthew, J., Li, Y., Khanal, B., Cerrolaza Martinez, J. J., Toussaint, N., Gupta, C., Knight, C., Kainz, B., Hajnal, J. V. and Rutherford, M. (2020). Towards automated extraction of 2D standard fetal head planes from 3D ultrasound acquisitions: A clinical evaluation and quality assessment comparison. Radiography, doi: 10.1016/j.radi.2020.11.006


Introduction: Clinical evaluation of deep learning (DL) tools is essential to compliment technical accuracy metrics. This study assessed the image quality of standard fetal head planes automatically-extracted from three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound fetal head volumes using a customised DL-algorithm.

Methods: Two observers retrospectively reviewed standard fetal head planes against pre-defined image quality criteria. Forty-eight images (29 transventricular, 19 transcerebellar) were selected from 91 transabdominal fetal scans (mean gestational age = 26 completed weeks, range = 20+5–32+3 weeks). Each had two-dimensional (2D) manually-acquired (2D-MA), 3D operator-selected (3D-OS) and 3D-DL automatically-acquired (3D-DL) images. The proportion of adequate images from each plane and modality, and the number of inadequate images per plane was compared for each method. Inter and intra-observer agreement of overall image quality was calculated.

Results: Sixty-seven percent of 3D-OS and 3D-DL transventricular planes were adequate quality. Forty-five percent of 3D-OS and 55% of 3D-DL transcerebellar planes were adequate. Seventy-one percent of 3D-OS and 86% of 3D-DL transventricular planes failed with poor visualisation of intra-cranial structures. Eighty-six percent of 3D-OS and 80% of 3D-DL transcerebellar planes failed due to inadequate visualisation of cerebellar hemispheres. Image quality was significantly different between 2D and 3D, however, no significant difference between 3D-modalities was demonstrated (p < 0.005). Inter-observer agreement of transventricular plane adequacy was moderate for both 3D-modalities, and weak for transcerebellar planes.

Conclusion: The 3D-DL algorithm can automatically extract standard fetal head planes from 3D-head volumes of comparable quality to operator-selected planes. Image quality in 3D is inferior to corresponding 2D planes, likely due to limitations with 3D-technology and acquisition technique.

Implications for practice: Automated image extraction of standard planes from US-volumes could facilitate use of 3DUS in clinical practice, however image quality is dependent on the volume acquisition technique.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The College of Radiographers
Publisher Keywords: Clinical evaluation; Fetal imaging; Quality assessment; Ultrasound
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2020 11:34
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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