A Semi-Automatic Method To Segment The Left Atrium in MR Volumes With Varying Slice Numbers
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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia and is associated with dramatic increases in mortality and morbidity. Atrial cine MR images are increasingly used in the management of this condition, but there are few specific tools to aid in the segmentation of such data. Some characteristics of atrial cine MR (thick slices, variable number of slices in a volume) preclude the direct use of traditional segmentation tools. When combined with scarcity of labelled data and similarity of the intensity and texture of the left atrium (LA) to other cardiac structures, the segmentation of the LA in CINE MRI becomes a difficult task. To deal with these challenges, we propose a semi-automatic method to segment the left atrium (LA) in MR images, which requires an initial user click per volume. The manually given location information is used to generate a chamber location map to roughly locate the LA, which is then used as an input to a deep network with slightly over 0:5 million parameters. A tracking method is introduced to pass the location information across a volume and to remove unwanted structures in segmentation maps. According to the results of our experiments conducted in an in-house MRI dataset, the proposed method outperforms the U-Net  with a margin of 20 mm on Hausdorff distance and 0:17 on Dice score, with limited manual interaction.