Automatic classification of a-lines in intravascular oct images using deep learning and estimation of attenuation coefficients

Grigorios Aris Cheimariotis, Maria Riga, Kostas Haris, Konstantinos Toutouzas, Aggelos K. Katsaggelos, Nicos Maglaveras*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Intravascular Optical Coherence Tomography (IVOCT) images provide important insight into every aspect of atherosclerosis. Specifically, the extent of plaque and its type, which are indica-tive of the patient’s condition, are better assessed by OCT images in comparison to other in vivo modalities. A large amount of imaging data per patient require automatic methods for rapid results. An effective step towards automatic plaque detection and plaque characterization is axial lines (A-lines) based classification into normal and various plaque types. In this work, a novel automatic method for A-line classification is proposed. The method employed convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for classification in its core and comprised the following pre-processing steps: arterial wall segmentation and an OCT-specific (depth-resolved) transformation and a post-processing step based on the majority of classifications. The important step was the OCT-specific transformation, which was based on the estimation of the attenuation coefficient in every pixel of the OCT image. The dataset used for training and testing consisted of 183 images from 33 patients. In these images, four different plaque types were delineated. The method was evaluated by cross-validation. The mean values of accuracy, sensitivity and specificity were 74.73%, 87.78%, and 61.45%, respectively, when classifying into plaque and normal A-lines. When plaque A-lines were classified into fibrolipidic and fibrocalcific, the overall accuracy was 83.47% for A-lines of OCT-specific transformed images and 74.94% for A-lines of original images. This large improvement in accuracy indicates the advantage of using attenuation coefficients when characterizing plaque types. The proposed automatic deep-learning pipeline constitutes a positive contribution to the accurate classification of A-lines in intravascular OCT images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7412
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021


  • Atheromatic plaque
  • CNN
  • Classification
  • Deep learning
  • Intravascular optical coherence tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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