Extraction of Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques From Computed Tomography Imaging: A Review of Recent Methods

Haipeng Liu, Aleksandra Wingert, Jian'an Wang, Jucheng Zhang, Xinhong Wang, Jianzhong Sun, Fei Chen, Syed Ghufran Khalid, Jun Jiang, Dingchang Zheng

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    Background: Atherosclerotic plaques are the major cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). Currently, computed tomography (CT) is the most commonly applied imaging technique in the diagnosis of CAD. However, the accurate extraction of coronary plaque geometry from CT images is still challenging. Summary of Review: In this review, we focused on the methods in recent studies on the CT-based coronary plaque extraction. According to the dimension of plaque extraction method, the studies were categorized into two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) ones. In each category, the studies were analyzed in terms of data, methods, and evaluation. We summarized the merits and limitations of current methods, as well as the future directions for efficient and accurate extraction of coronary plaques using CT imaging. Conclusion: The methodological innovations are important for more accurate CT-based assessment of coronary plaques in clinical applications. The large-scale studies, de-blooming algorithms, more standardized datasets, and more detailed classification of non-calcified plaques could improve the accuracy of coronary plaque extraction from CT images. More multidimensional geometric parameters can be derived from the 3D geometry of coronary plaques. Additionally, machine learning and automatic 3D reconstruction could improve the efficiency of coronary plaque extraction in future studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number597568
    JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright © 2021 Liu, Wingert, Wang, Zhang, Wang, Sun, Chen, Khalid, Jiang and Zheng. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


    This study was supported by the Newton Funds Industry Academia Partnership Programme (Grant No. IAPP1R2\100204), the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Science and Technology (Grant No. 2020C03016), the High-level University Fund of Southern University of Science of Technology (Grant No. G02236002), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFE0198400). P


    • coronary artery disease
    • atherosclerosis
    • plaque morphology
    • cardiac computed tomography
    • three-dimensional reconstruction


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