Texture-based classification of atherosclerotic carotid plaques
AuthorChristodoulou, Christodoulos I.
Pattichis, Constantinos S.
Pantzaris, Marios C.
Nicolaïdes, Andrew N.
SourceIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
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There are indications that the morphology of atherosclerotic carotid plaques, obtained by high-resolution ultrasound imaging, has prognostic implications. The objective of this study was to develop a computer-aided system that will facilitate the characterization of carotid plaques for the identification of individuals with asymptomatic carotid stenosis at risk of stroke. A total of 230 plaque images were collected which were classified into two types: symptomatic because of ipsilateral hemispheric symptoms, or asymptomatic because they were not connected with ipsilateral hemispheric events, Ten different texture feature sets were extracted from the manually segmented plaque images using the following algorithms: first-order statistics, spatial gray level dependence matrices, gray level difference statistics, neighborhood gray tone difference matrix, statistical feature matrix, Laws texture energy measures, fractal dimension texture analysis, Fourier power spectrum and shape parameters. For the classification task a modular neural network composed of self-organizing map (SOM) classifiers, and combining techniques based on a confidence measure were used. Combining the classification results of the ten SOM classifiers inputted with the ten feature sets improved the classification rate of the individual classifiers, reaching an average diagnostic yield (DY) of 73.1%. The same modular system was implemented using the statistical k-nearest neighbor (KNN) classifier. The combined DY for the KNN system was 68.8%. The results of this paper show that it is possible to identify a group of patients at risk of stroke based on texture features extracted from ultrasound images of carotid plaques. This group of patients may benefit from a carotid endarterectomy whereas other patients may be spared from an unnecessary operation.