A method for measurement of cross sectional area, segment length, and branching angle of airway tree structures in situ

Susan A. Wood, John D. Hoford, Eric A. Hoffman, Elias Zerhouni, Wayne A Mitzner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Accurate quantitative measurements of airway and vascular dimensions are essential for evaluating function in both the normal and in the diseased lung. This report describes a new integrated method for three-dimensional (3D) extraction and analysis of pulmonary tree structures using data from High Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT). Serially scanned two-dimensional (2D) slices of the lower left lobe of isolated dog lungs were stacked to create a volume of data. Airway and vascular trees were extracted using a 3D seeded region-growing algorithm based on differences in CT number between wall and lumen. In the region-growing step, voxels in the lumen are tagged with a distance descriptor to identify points along the tree structure equidistant from the seed point. To obtain quantitative data, we reduced each tree to its central axis. From the central axis, branch length was measured as the distance between two successive branch points, branch angle was measured as the angle produced by two daughter branches, and cross-sectional area was measured from a plane perpendicular to the central axis point. Data derived from these methods can be used to localize and quantify structural differences both during different physiologic conditions and in pathologic lungs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalComputerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes



  • Bronchial pressure-diameter behavior
  • HRCT
  • Lung imaging
  • Pulmonary tree structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications

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