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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2014, Article ID 518414, 13 pages
Research Article

Despeckle Filtering for Multiscale Amplitude-Modulation Frequency-Modulation (AM-FM) Texture Analysis of Ultrasound Images of the Intima-Media Complex

1Departement of Computer Science, School of Sciences, Intercollege, 92 Ayias Phylaxeos Street, P. O. Box 51604, CY-3507 Limassol, Cyprus
2Departement of Electrical Engineering, Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia, 2221 Lima, Peru
3Departement of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
4Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, 1683 Nicosia, Cyprus
5The Vascular Screening and Diagnostic Centre, 1080 Nicosia, Cyprus
6Departement of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus

Received 1 December 2013; Accepted 31 January 2014; Published 9 March 2014

Academic Editor: Tiange Zhuang

Copyright © 2014 C. P. Loizou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The intima-media thickness (IMT) of the common carotid artery (CCA) is widely used as an early indicator of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Typically, the IMT grows with age and this is used as a sign of increased risk of CVD. Beyond thickness, there is also clinical interest in identifying how the composition and texture of the intima-media complex (IMC) changed and how these textural changes grow into atherosclerotic plaques that can cause stroke. Clearly though texture analysis of ultrasound images can be greatly affected by speckle noise, our goal here is to develop effective despeckle noise methods that can recover image texture associated with increased rates of atherosclerosis disease. In this study, we perform a comparative evaluation of several despeckle filtering methods, on 100 ultrasound images of the CCA, based on the extracted multiscale Amplitude-Modulation Frequency-Modulation (AM-FM) texture features and visual image quality assessment by two clinical experts. Texture features were extracted from the automatically segmented IMC for three different age groups. The despeckle filters hybrid median and the homogeneous mask area filter showed the best performance by improving the class separation between the three age groups and also yielded significantly improved image quality.