Automation process for morphometric analysis of volumetric CT data from pulmonary vasculature in rats
Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
With advances in medical imaging scanners, it has become commonplace to generate large multidimensional datasets. These datasets require tools for a rapid, thorough analysis. To address this need, we have developed an automated algorithm for morphometric analysis incorporating A Visualization Workshop computational and image processing libraries for three-dimensional segmentation, vascular tree generation and structural hierarchical ordering with a two-stage numeric optimization procedure for estimating vessel diameters. We combine this new technique with our mathematical models of pulmonary vascular morphology to quantify structural and functional attributes of lung arterial trees. Our physiological studies require repeated measurements of vascular structure to determine differences in vessel biomechanical properties between animal models of pulmonary disease. Automation provides many advantages including significantly improved speed and minimized operator interaction and biasing. The results are validated by comparison with previously published rat pulmonary arterial micro-CT data analysis techniques, in which vessels were manually mapped and measured using intense operator intervention.