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Journal Article

An evaluation of performance measures for arterial brain vessel segmentation


Khalil,  Ahmed
Center for Stroke Research, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MindBrainBody Institute, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Aydin, O. U., Taha, A. A., Hilbert, A., Khalil, A., Galinovic, I., Fiebach, J. B., et al. (2021). An evaluation of performance measures for arterial brain vessel segmentation. BMC Medical Imaging, 21(1): 113. doi:10.1186/s12880-021-00644-x.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-2570-F
Background: Arterial brain vessel segmentation allows utilising clinically relevant information contained within the cerebral vascular tree. Currently, however, no standardised performance measure is available to evaluate the quality of cerebral vessel segmentations. Thus, we developed a performance measure selection framework based on manual visual scoring of simulated segmentation variations to find the most suitable measure for cerebral vessel segmentation.

Methods: To simulate segmentation variations, we manually created non-overlapping segmentation errors common in magnetic resonance angiography cerebral vessel segmentation. In 10 patients, we generated a set of approximately 300 simulated segmentation variations for each ground truth image. Each segmentation was visually scored based on a predefined scoring system and segmentations were ranked based on 22 performance measures common in the literature. The correlation of visual scores with performance measure rankings was calculated using the Spearman correlation coefficient.

Results: The distance-based performance measures balanced average Hausdorff distance (rank = 1) and average Hausdorff distance (rank = 2) provided the segmentation rankings with the highest average correlation with manual rankings. They were followed by overlap-based measures such as Dice coefficient (rank = 7), a standard performance measure in medical image segmentation.

Conclusions: Average Hausdorff distance-based measures should be used as a standard performance measure in evaluating cerebral vessel segmentation quality. They can identify more relevant segmentation errors, especially in high-quality segmentations. Our findings have the potential to accelerate the validation and development of novel vessel segmentation approaches.