Iterative Otsu's method for OCT improved delineation in the aorta wall
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AuthorAlonso Saro, Daniel; Real Peña, Eusebio; Val Bernal, José Fernando; Revuelta Soba, José Manuel; Pontón Cortina, Alejandro; Calvo Díez, Marta; Mayorga Fernández, Marta María; López Higuera, José Miguel; Conde Portilla, Olga María
Degradation of human ascending thoracic aorta has been visualized with Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). OCT images of the vessel wall exhibit structural degradation in the media layer of the artery, being this disorder the final trigger of the pathology. The degeneration in the vessel wall appears as low-reflectivity areas due to different optical properties of acidic polysaccharides and mucopolysaccharides in contrast with typical ordered structure of smooth muscle cells, elastin and collagen fibers. An OCT dimension indicator of wall degradation can be generated upon the spatial quantification of the extension of degraded areas in a similar way as conventional histopathology. This proposed OCT marker can offer in the future a real-time clinical perception of the vessel status to help cardiovascular surgeons in vessel repair interventions. However, the delineation of degraded areas on the B-scan image from OCT is sometimes difficult due to presence of speckle noise, variable signal to noise ratio (SNR) conditions on the measurement process, etc. Degraded areas can be delimited by basic thresholding techniques taking advantage of disorders evidences in B-scan images, but this delineation is not optimum in the aorta samples and requires complex additional processing stages. This work proposes an optimized delineation of degraded areas within the aorta wall, robust to noisy environments, based on the iterative application of Otsu’s thresholding method. Results improve the delineation of wall anomalies compared with the simple application of the algorithm. Achievements could be also transferred to other clinical scenarios: carotid arteries, aorto-iliac or ilio-femoral sections, intracranial, etc.