Atherosclerotic Plaque Segmentation Based on Strain Gradients: A Theoretical Framework

Álvaro T. Latorre, Miguel A. Martínez, Myriam Cilla, Jacques Ohayon, Estefanía Peña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Atherosclerotic plaque detection is a clinical and technological problem that has been approached by different studies. Nowadays, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is the standard used to capture images of the coronary walls and to detect plaques. However, IVUS images are difficult to segment, which complicates obtaining geometric measurements of the plaque. Objective: IVUS, in combination with new techniques, allows estimation of strains in the coronary section. In this study, we have proposed the use of estimated strains to develop a methodology for plaque segmentation. Methods: The process is based on the representation of strain gradients and the combination of the Watershed and Gradient Vector Flow algorithms. Since it is a theoretical framework, the methodology was tested with idealized and real IVUS geometries. Results: We achieved measurements of the lipid area and fibrous cap thickness, which are essential clinical information, with promising results. The success of the segmentation depends on the plaque geometry and the strain gradient variable (SGV) that was selected. However, there are some SGV combinations that yield good results regardless of plaque geometry such as (Formula presented.), (Formula presented.) or (Formula presented.). These combinations of SGVs achieve good segmentations, with an accuracy between 97.10% and 94.39% in the best pairs. Conclusions: The new methodology provides fast segmentation from different strain variables, without an optimization step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4020
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • atherosclerosis
  • fibrous cap thickness
  • finite element model
  • intravascular ultrasound
  • segmentation method
  • strain gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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