Identification of anatomical features is a necessary step for medical image analysis. Automatic methods for feature identification using conventional pattern recognition techniques typically classify an object as a member of a predefined class of objects, but do not attempt to recover the exact or approximate shape of that object. For this reason, such techniques are usually not sufficient to identify the borders of organs when individual geometry varies in local detail, even though the general geometrical shape is similar. We present an algorithm that detects features in an image based on approximate geometrical models. The algorithm is based on the traditional and generalized Hough Transforms but includes notions from fuzzy set theory. We use the new algorithm to roughly estimate the actual locations of boundaries of an internal organ, and from this estimate, to determine a region of interest around the organ. Based on this rough estimate of the border location, and the derived region of interest, we find the final (improved) estimate of the true borders with other (subsequently used) image processing techniques. We present results that demonstrate that the algorithm was successfully used to estimate the approximate location of the chest wall in humans, and of the left ventricular contours of a dog heart obtained from cine-computed tomographic images. We use this fuzzy Hough Transform algorithm as part of a larger procedure to automatically identify the myocardial contours of the heart. This algorithm may also allow for more rapid image processing and clinical decision making in other medical imaging applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering