Quantitative measurements of wall thickness in human abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) may provide useful information to predict rupture risk. Our procedure for estimating wall thickness in AAAs includes medical image segmentation and wall thickness detection. Image segmentation requires identifying and segmenting the luminal and outer wall boundaries of the blood vessels and wall thickness can be calculated by using intensity histograms and neural networks. The goal of this study is to develop an image-based, semi-automated method to trace the contours of the vessel wall and measure the wall thickness of the abdominal aorta from in-vivo, contrast-enhanced, CT images. An algorithm for the lumen and inner wall segmentations, and wall thickness detection was developed and tested on 10 ruptured and 10 unruptured AAAs. Reproducibility and repeatability of the algorithm were determined by comparing manual tracings made by two observers to contours made automatically by the algorithm itself. There was a high correspondence between automatic and manual area measurements for the lumen (r = 0.96) and between users (r = 0.98). Based on statistical analyses, the algorithm tends to underestimate the lumen area when compared to both observers.

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