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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  CAROTID DISEASE 

International Angiology 2022 February;41(1):9-23

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-9590.21.04771-4

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Automated deep learning-based paradigm for high-risk plaque detection in B-mode common carotid ultrasound scans: an asymptomatic Japanese cohort study

Pankaj K. JAIN 1, Neeraj SHARMA 1, Luca SABA 2, Kosmas I. PARASKEVAS 3, Mandeep K. KALRA 4, Amer JOHRI 5, Andrew N. NICOLAIDES 6, Jasjit S. SURI 7

1 School of Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, India; 2 Department of Radiology, Cagliari University Hospital, Cagliari, Italy; 3 Central Clinic, Athens, Greece; 4 Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; 5 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada; 6 International Union of Angiology, Nicosia, Cyprus; 7 AtheroPoint LLC, Roseville, CA, USA



BACKGROUND: The death due to stroke is caused by embolism of the arteries which is due to the rupture of the atherosclerotic lesions in carotid arteries. The lesion formation is over time, and thus, early screening is recommended for asymptomatic and moderate-risk patients. The previous techniques adopted conventional methods or semi-automated and, more recently, machine learning solutions. A handful of studies have emerged based on solo deep learning (SDL) models such as UNet architecture.
METHODS: The proposed research is the first to adopt hybrid deep learning (HDL) artificial intelligence models such as SegNet-UNet. This model is benchmarked against UNet and advanced conventional models using scale-space such as AtheroEdge 2.0 (AtheroPoint, CA, USA). All our resultant statistics of the three systems were in the order of UNet, SegNet-UNet, and AtheroEdge 2.0.
RESULTS: Using the database of 379 ultrasound scans from a Japanese cohort of 190 patients having moderate risk and implementing the cross-validation deep learning framework, our system performance using area-under-the-curve (AUC) for UNet, SegNet-UNet, and AtheroEdge 2.0 were 0.93, 0.94, and 0.95 (P<0.001), respectively. The coefficient of correlation between the three systems and ground truth (GT) were: 0.82, 0.89, and 0.85 (P<0.001 for all three), respectively. The mean absolute area error for the three systems against manual GT was 4.07±4.70 mm2, 3.11±3.92 mm2, 3.72±4.76 mm2, respectively, proving the superior performance SegNet-UNet against UNet and AtheroEdge 2.0, respectively. Statistical tests were also conducted for their reliability and stability.
CONCLUSIONS: The proposed study demonstrates a fast, accurate, and reliable solution for early detection and quantification of plaque lesions in common carotid artery ultrasound scans. The system runs on a test US image in <1 second, proving overall performance to be clinically reliable.


KEY WORDS: Stroke; Cardiovascular diseases; Carotid arteries; Ultrasonography; Deep learning

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