Learning-based prediction of gestational age from ultrasound images of the fetal brain.
Namburete AIL., Stebbing RV., Kemp B., Yaqub M., Papageorghiou AT., Alison Noble J.
We propose an automated framework for predicting gestational age (GA) and neurodevelopmental maturation of a fetus based on 3D ultrasound (US) brain image appearance. Our method capitalizes on age-related sonographic image patterns in conjunction with clinical measurements to develop, for the first time, a predictive age model which improves on the GA-prediction potential of US images. The framework benefits from a manifold surface representation of the fetal head which delineates the inner skull boundary and serves as a common coordinate system based on cranial position. This allows for fast and efficient sampling of anatomically-corresponding brain regions to achieve like-for-like structural comparison of different developmental stages. We develop bespoke features which capture neurosonographic patterns in 3D images, and using a regression forest classifier, we characterize structural brain development both spatially and temporally to capture the natural variation existing in a healthy population (N=447) over an age range of active brain maturation (18-34weeks). On a routine clinical dataset (N=187) our age prediction results strongly correlate with true GA (r=0.98,accurate within±6.10days), confirming the link between maturational progression and neurosonographic activity observable across gestation. Our model also outperforms current clinical methods by ±4.57 days in the third trimester-a period complicated by biological variations in the fetal population. Through feature selection, the model successfully identified the most age-discriminating anatomies over this age range as being the Sylvian fissure, cingulate, and callosal sulci.