A semi-automated measuring system of brain diffusion and perfusion magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities in patients with multiple sclerosis based on the integration of coregistration and tissue segmentation procedures

Alfredo Revenaz, Massimiliano Ruggeri, Marcella Laganà, Niels Bergsland, Elisabetta Groppo, Marco Rovaris, Enrico Fainardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI) abnormalities in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are currently measured by a complex combination of separate procedures. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to provide a reliable method for reducing analysis complexity and obtaining reproducible results. Methods: We implemented a semi-automated measuring system in which different well-known software components for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) analysis are integrated to obtain reliable measurements of DWI and PWI disturbances in MS. Results: We generated the Diffusion/Perfusion Project (DPP) Suite, in which a series of external software programs are managed and harmonically and hierarchically incorporated by in-house developed Matlab software to perform the following processes: 1) image pre-processing, including imaging data anonymization and conversion from DICOM to Nifti format; 2) co-registration of 2D and 3D non-enhanced and Gd-enhanced T1-weighted images in fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) space; 3) lesion segmentation and classification, in which FLAIR lesions are at first segmented and then categorized according to their presumed evolution; 4) co-registration of segmented FLAIR lesion in T1 space to obtain the FLAIR lesion mask in the T1 space; 5) normal appearing tissue segmentation, in which T1 lesion mask is used to segment basal ganglia/thalami, normal appearing grey matter (NAGM) and normal appearing white matter (NAWM); 6) DWI and PWI map generation; 7) co-registration of basal ganglia/thalami, NAGM, NAWM, DWI and PWI maps in previously segmented FLAIR space; 8) data analysis. All these steps are automatic, except for lesion segmentation and classification. Conclusion: We developed a promising method to limit misclassifications and user errors, providing clinical researchers with a practical and reproducible tool to measure DWI and PWI changes in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 14 2016

Keywords

  • Automatic classification
  • Automatic segmentation
  • Coregistration
  • DPP Suite
  • DWI
  • PWI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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