Multi-Contrast Computed Tomography Healthy Kidney Atlas

The construction of three-dimensional multi-modal tissue maps provides an opportunity to spur interdisciplinary innovations across temporal and spatial scales through information integration. While the preponderance of effort is allocated to the cellular level and explore the changes in cell interactions and organizations, contextualizing findings within organs and systems is essential to visualize and interpret higher resolution linkage across scales. There is a substantial normal variation of kidney morphometry and appearance across body size, sex, and imaging protocols in abdominal computed tomography (CT). A volumetric atlas framework is needed to integrate and visualize the variability across scales. However, there is no abdominal and retroperitoneal organs atlas framework for multi-contrast CT. Hence, we proposed a high-resolution CT retroperitoneal atlas specifically optimized for the kidney across non-contrast CT and early arterial, late arterial, venous and delayed contrast enhanced CT. Briefly, we introduce a deep learning-based volume of interest extraction method and an automated two-stage hierarchal registration pipeline to register abdominal volumes to a high-resolution CT atlas template. To generate and evaluate the atlas, multi-contrast modality CT scans of 500 subjects (without reported history of renal disease, age: 15-50 years, 250 males & 250 females) were processed. We demonstrate a stable generalizability of the atlas template for integrating the normal kidney variation from small to large, across contrast modalities and populations with great variability of demographics. The linkage of atlas and demographics provided a better understanding of the variation of kidney anatomy across populations.

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