Scientific article
Open access

Fully automated explainable abdominal CT contrast media phase classification using organ segmentation and machine learning

Published inMedical physics, vol. 51, no. 6, p. 4095-4104
Publication date2024-06
First online date2024-04-17


Contrast‐enhanced computed tomography (CECT) provides much more information compared to non‐enhanced CT images, especially for the differentiation of malignancies, such as liver carcinomas. Contrast media injection phase information is usually missing on public datasets and not standardized in the clinic even in the same region and language. This is a barrier to effective use of available CECT images in clinical research.


The aim of this study is to detect contrast media injection phase from CT images by means of organ segmentation and machine learning algorithms.


A total number of 2509 CT images split into four subsets of non‐contrast (class #0), arterial (class #1), venous (class #2), and delayed (class #3) after contrast media injection were collected from two CT scanners. Seven organs including the liver, spleen, heart, kidneys, lungs, urinary bladder, and aorta along with body contour masks were generated by pre‐trained deep learning algorithms. Subsequently, five first‐order statistical features including average, standard deviation, 10, 50, and 90 percentiles extracted from the above‐mentioned masks were fed to machine learning models after feature selection and reduction to classify the CT images in one of four above mentioned classes. A 10‐fold data split strategy was followed. The performance of our methodology was evaluated in terms of classification accuracy metrics.


The best performance was achieved by Boruta feature selection and RF model with average area under the curve of more than 0.999 and accuracy of 0.9936 averaged over four classes and 10 folds. Boruta feature selection selected all predictor features. The lowest classification was observed for class #2 (0.9888), which is already an excellent result. In the 10‐fold strategy, only 33 cases from 2509 cases (∼1.4%) were misclassified. The performance over all folds was consistent.


We developed a fast, accurate, reliable, and explainable methodology to classify contrast media phases which may be useful in data curation and annotation in big online datasets or local datasets with non‐standard or no series description. Our model containing two steps of deep learning and machine learning may help to exploit available datasets more effectively.

  • Contrast‐enhanced CT
  • Data curation
  • Deep learning
  • Machine learning
  • Segmentation
  • European Commission - Radiation risk appraisal for detrimental effects from medical exposure during management of patients with lymphoma or brain tumour [945196]
Citation (ISO format)
SALIMI, Yazdan et al. Fully automated explainable abdominal CT contrast media phase classification using organ segmentation and machine learning. In: Medical physics, 2024, vol. 51, n° 6, p. 4095–4104. doi: 10.1002/mp.17076
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ISSN of the journal0094-2405

Technical informations

Creation04/18/2024 6:14:46 AM
First validation05/23/2024 12:18:42 PM
Update time06/04/2024 7:07:26 AM
Status update06/04/2024 7:07:26 AM
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