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Methodology to create 3D models of COVID-19 pathologies for virtual clinical trials

  • Rodríguez Pérez, Sunay1, 2
  • Coolen, Johan1, 3
  • Marshall, Nicholas W.1, 3
  • Cockmartin, Lesley3
  • Biebaû, Charlotte3
  • Desmet, Jeroen3
  • De Wever, Walter1, 3
  • Struelens, Lara2
  • Bosmans, Hilde1, 3
  • 1 KU Leuven, Belgium , (Belgium)
  • 2 SCK CEN, Belgium , (Belgium)
  • 3 UZ Gasthuisberg, Belgium , (Belgium)
Published Article
Journal of Medical Imaging
Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers
Publication Date
Jan 04, 2021
Suppl 1
DOI: 10.1117/1.JMI.8.S1.013501
PMID: 33447646
PMCID: PMC7791575
PubMed Central
  • Paper


Purpose: We describe the creation of computational models of lung pathologies indicative of COVID-19 disease. The models are intended for use in virtual clinical trials (VCT) for task-specific optimization of chest x-ray (CXR) imaging. Approach: Images of COVID-19 patients confirmed by computed tomography were used to segment areas of increased attenuation in the lungs, all compatible with ground glass opacities and consolidations. Using a modeling methodology, the segmented pathologies were converted to polygonal meshes and adapted to fit the lungs of a previously developed polygonal mesh thorax phantom. The models were then voxelized with a resolution of 0.5 × 0.5 × 0.5 mm 3 and used as input in a simulation framework to generate radiographic images. Primary projections were generated via ray tracing while the Monte Carlo transport code was used for the scattered radiation. Realistic sharpness and noise characteristics were also simulated, followed by clinical image processing. Example images generated at 120 kVp were used for the validation of the models in a reader study. Additionally, images were uploaded to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software for the detection of COVID-19. Results: Nine models of COVID-19 associated pathologies were created, covering a range of disease severity. The realism of the models was confirmed by experienced radiologists and by dedicated AI software. Conclusions: A methodology has been developed for the rapid generation of realistic 3D models of a large range of COVID-19 pathologies. The modeling framework can be used as the basis for VCTs for testing detection and triaging of COVID-19 suspected cases.

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