Med Biol Eng Comput. 2023 Mar 8. doi: 10.1007/s11517-023-02814-1. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Fetal echocardiography is widely used for the assessment of fetal heart development and detection of congenital heart disease (CHD). Preliminary examination of the fetal heart involves the four-chamber view which indicates the presence of all the four chambers and its structural symmetry. Examination of various cardiac parameters is generally done using the clinically selected diastole frame. This largely depends on the expertise of the sonographer and is prone to intra- and interobservational errors. To overcome this, automated frame selection technique is proposed for the recognition of fetal cardiac chamber from fetal echocardiography.
METHODS: Three techniques have been proposed in this research study to automate the process of determining the frame referred as “Master Frame” that can be used for the measurement of the cardiac parameters. The first method uses frame similarity measures (FSM) for the determination of the master frame from the given cine loop ultrasonic sequences. FSM makes use of similarity measures such as correlation, structural similarity index (SSIM), peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR), and mean square error (MSE) to identify the cardiac cycle, and all the frames in one cardiac cycle are superimposed to form the master frame. The final master frame is obtained by considering the average of the master frame obtained using each similarity measure. The second method uses averaging of ± 20% from the midframes (AMF). The third method uses averaging of all the frames (AAF) of the cine loop sequence. Both diastole and master frames have been annotated by the clinical experts, and their ground truths are compared for validation. No segmentation techniques have been used to avoid the variability of the performance of various segmentation techniques. All the proposed schemes were evaluated using six fidelity metrics such as Dice coefficient, Jaccard ratio, Hausdorff distance, structural similarity index, mean absolute error, and Pratt figure of merit.
RESULTS: The three proposed techniques were tested on the frames extracted from 95 ultrasound cine loop sequences between 19 and 32 weeks of gestation. The feasibility of the techniques was determined by the computation of fidelity metrics between the master frame derived and the diastole frame chosen by the clinical experts. The FSM-based identified master frame found to closely match with manually chosen diastole frame and also ensures statistically significant. The method also detects automatically the cardiac cycle. The resultant master frame obtained through AMF though found to be identical to that of the diastole frame, the size of the chambers found to be reduced that can lead to inaccurate chamber measurement. The master frame obtained through AAF was not found to be identical to that of clinical diastole frame.
CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that the frame similarity measure (FSM)-based master frame can be introduced in the clinical routine for segmentation followed by cardiac chamber measurements. Such automated master frame selection also overcomes the manual intervention of earlier reported techniques in the literature. The fidelity metrics assessment further confirms the suitability of proposed master frame for automated fetal chamber recognition.
PMID:36884143 | DOI:10.1007/s11517-023-02814-1