Abstract: Fast and accurate anatomical landmark detection can benefit many medical image analysis methods. Here, we propose a method to automatically detect anatomical landmarks in medical images. Automatic landmark detection is performed with a patch-based fully convolutional neural network (FCNN) that combines regression and classification. For any given image patch, regression is used to predict the 3D displacement vector from the image patch to the landmark. Simultaneously, classification is used to identify patches that contain the landmark. Under the assumption that patches close to a landmark can determine the landmark location more precisely than patches farther from it, only those patches that contain the landmark according to classification are used to determine the landmark location. The landmark location is obtained by calculating the average landmark location using the computed 3D displacement vectors. The method is evaluated using detection of six clinically relevant landmarks in coronary CT angiography (CCTA) scans : the right and left ostium, the bifurcation of the left main coronary artery (LM) into the left anterior descending and the left circumflex artery, and the origin of the right, non-coronary, and left aortic valve commissure. The proposed method achieved an average Euclidean distance error of 2.19 mm and 2.88 mm for the right and left ostium respectively, 3.78 mm for the bifurcation of the LM, and 1.82 mm, 2.10 mm and 1.89 mm for the origin of the right, non-coronary, and left aortic valve commissure respectively, demonstrating accurate performance. The proposed combination of regression and classification can be used to accurately detect landmarks in CCTA scans.
Keywords: Landmark Detection, Convolutional Neural Network, Regression, Classification, CCTA
Author Affiliation: Image Sciences Institute, University Medical Center Utrecht and Utrecht University, The Netherlands