Abstract: Computationally synthesized blood vessels can be used for training and evaluationof medical image analysis applications. We propose a deep generative model to synthesize blood vessel geometries, with an application to coronary arteries in cardiac CT angiography (CCTA). In the proposed method, a Wasserstein generative adversarial network (GAN) consisting of a generator and a discriminator network is trained. While the generator tries to synthesize realistic blood vessel geometries, the discriminator tries to distinguish synthesized geometries from those of real blood vessels. Both real and synthesized blood vessel geometries are parametrized as 1D signals based on the central vessel axis. The generator can optionally be provided with an attribute vector to synthesize vessels with particular characteristics. The GAN was optimized using a reference database with parametrizations of 4,412 real coronary artery geometries extracted from CCTA scans. After training, plausible coronary artery geometries could be synthesized based on random vectors sampled from a latent space. A qualitative analysis showed strong similarities between real and synthesized coronary arteries. A detailed analysis of the latent space showed that the diversity present in coronary artery anatomy was accurately captured by the generator. Results show that Wasserstein generative adversarial networks can be used to synthesize blood vessel geometries.
Keywords: generative adversarial networks, deep learning, coronary CT angiography, coronary arteries
Author Affiliation: Image Sciences Institute and Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Utrecht