Automatic detection of pulmonary embolism in CTA

H. Bouma, J.J. Sonnemans, A. Vilanova, F.A. Gerritsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common life-threatening disorder for which an early diagnosis is desirable. We propose a new system for the automatic detection of PE in contrast-enhanced CT images. The system consists of candidate detection, feature computation and classification. Candidate detection focusses on the inclusion of PE - even complete occlusions - and the exclusion of false detections, such as tissue and parenchymal diseases. Feature computation does not only focus on the intensity, shape and size of an embolus, but also on locations and the shape of the pulmonary vascular tree. Several classifiers have been tested and the results show that the performance is optimized by using a bagged tree classifier with two features based on the shape of a blood vessel and the distance to the vessel boundary. The system was trained on 38 CT data sets. Evaluation on 19 other data sets showed that the system generalizes well. The sensitivity of our system on the evaluation data is 63% at 4.9 false positives per data set, which allowed the radiologist to improve the number of detected PE by 22%.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1230
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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