An automated method for the segmentation of thrombus in abdominal aortic aneurysms from CTA data is presented. The method is based on Active Shape Model (ASM) fitting in sequential slices, using the contour obtained in one slice as the initialisation in the adjacent slice. The optimal fit is defined by maximum correlation of grey value profiles around the contour in successive slices, in contrast to the original ASM scheme as proposed by Cootes and Taylor, where the correlation with profiles from training data is maximised. An extension to the proposed approach prevents the inclusion of low-intensity tissue and allows the model to refine to nearby edges. The applied shape models contain either one or two image slices, the latter explicitly restricting the shape change from slice to slice. To evaluate the proposed methods a leave-one-out experiment was performed, using six datasets containing 274 slices to segment. Both adapted ASM schemes yield significantly better results than the original scheme (p<0.0001). The extended slice correlation fit of a one-slice model showed best overall performance. Using one manually delineated image slice as a reference, on average a number of 29 slices could be automatically segmented with an accuracy within the bounds of manual inter-observer variability.
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