PAVES - Peripheral Artery:Vein Enhanced Segmentation

An SMRA 2018/19 -  Image Processing Challenge

31st Annual International Conference

Nantes, France

An Extraordinary Voyage in the City of Jules Verne

Endorsed by the MICCAI Society

This challenge is aimed at providing easy to interpret Magnetic Resonance images that can be understood by clinicians (vascular interventional radiologists & vascular surgeons) from high spatial resolution MRA datasets of the lower leg where the venous and arterial vasculature may be equally enhanced.

The setting is arterial disease where detailed assessment of the below knee arteries is critical in planning interventions in an attempt to salvage a critically ischaemic leg.  

Magnetic Resonance imaging systems can acquire both high temporal resolution and high spatial resolution images, but not at the same time.  While dynamic MRA techniques can usually allow arterial imaging without venous ‘contamination’ these necessarily sacrifice spatial resolution.  

High spatial resolution images allow discrimination of the vessel wall and areas of wall thickening/stenosis which are the target for intervention however these images take several minutes to acquire.  This creates a clinical problem as there is a short transit time between arterial and venous filling and during the acquisition time gadolinium contrast medium is distributed throughout both arteries and veins.  The resulting "venous overlay" makes it difficult to interpret small arteries, especially when diseased.



The purpose of this challenge is to separate the arteries and veins from these high resolution datasets while retaining the same level of anatomical detail.  The resultant arterial and venous images could greatly improve procedural planning and increase the rate of limb salvage.  Although the arteries are the primary target for interventions the venous images are also clinically useful when planning vein harvest for bypass grafting.

We anticipate that machine learning utilizing semantic segmentation will be able to improve the ease of interpretation of these images.  This challenge will accept entries utilising any and all methods which follow the rules, see the Rules page.  Expected difficulties in completing this challenge are:

  • The proximity of the arteries to the veins - these effective abut one another with only a thin wall to seperate.
  • Multilevel stenosis and occlusions, hence vessel tracking may have to be of a non-contiguous lumen.
  • The lack of a labelled ground truth.


Challenge Organisers

Dr Giles Roditi

Dr Peter Douglas

Dr Wiro J Niessen

Hosts for SMRA 2019, Nantes

Jean-Michel Serfaty (Local Organiser) & Philippe Douek