Line Artefacts Quantification for Lung Ultrasound Images via Non-convex Regularisation

In this project, we present a novel method for line artefacts quantification in lung ultrasound (LUS) images of COVID-19 patients. We formulate this as a non-convex regularisation problem involving the heavy-tailed Cauchy-based penalty function, and the inverse Radon transform.

We employ a simple local maxima detection technique in the Radon transform domain, associated with known clinical definitions of line artefacts.

Line Artefacts in LUS Images
Line artefacts in Radon Domain

Despite being non-convex, the proposed technique is guaranteed to convergence through our proposed Cauchy proximal splitting (CPS) method, and accurately identifies both horizontal and vertical line artefacts in LUS images. In order to reduce the number of false and missed detection, our method includes a two-stage validation mechanism, which is performed in both Radon and image domains.

We evaluate the performance of the proposed method in comparison to the current state-of-the-art B-line identification method and show a considerable performance gain with 87% correctly detected B-lines in LUS images of nine COVID-19 patients.

Detection results. (a)-(e) Original Images. (f)-(j) Ground truth. (k)-(o) The proposed method.

Further information

[1] Karakuş, O., Anantrasirichai, N., Aguersif, A., Silva, S., Basarab, A., & Achim, A. (2020). Detection of Line Artifacts in Lung Ultrasound Images of COVID-19 Patients Via Nonconvex Regularization. IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 67(11), 2218-2229.


Talk by Dr Oktay Karakus in Acoustics Virtually Everywhere The 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America 7-11 December 2020


Oktay Karakuş, Pui Anantrasirichai, Alin Achim


O Karakus, A Achim. (2020): QuantLUS – CPS v1.0


This work was supported in part by
** the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant EP/R009260/1,
** an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award (IAA) from the University of Bristol, ** a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship to Achim (INFHER).

Ship Wake Detection in SAR Images of the Sea Surface

Example images including ship wakes and their Radon transform. (Upper Left) – Image includes all 5 ship wakes. (Upper Right) – Image does not include Kelvin wake. (Lower row) – Radon transforms of the images above. Both images are TerraSAR-X Stripmap products with HH polarisation and 3m by 3m resolution.

Ship wake detection is essential for extracting information on the wake generating vessels in order to analyse synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of the sea surface. One possibility is to assume a linear model for wakes, in which case detection approaches are based on transforms such as Radon and Hough. These express the bright (dark) lines as peak (trough) points in the transform domain.

In this project, ship wake detection is posed as an inverse problem, which the associated cost function has taken various forms, such as

** Generalized minimax concave (GMC) function [1,2],
** Non-convex Cauchy-based penalty function [3,4],
** Hybrid penalty function which combines the Cauchy-based penalty with a 2-D DWT based term [5].

Despite having a non-convex regularizer, we provide mathematically consistent solutions, by either

** keeping the overall cost function to be convex [1,2], OR
** setting model parameters to guarantee the convergence [3-5].

To quantify the performance of the proposed methods, various types of SAR images are used, corresponding to TerraSAR-X, COSMO-SkyMed, Sentinel-1, and ALOS2. The performance of various priors in solving the proposed inverse problem is first studied by investigating the GMC along with the L1, Lp, nuclear and total variation (TV) norms.


Example Results

Further information

[1] Karakuş, O., & Achim, A. (2019, May). Ship wake detection in X-band SAR images using sparse GMC regularization. In ICASSP 2019-2019 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP) (pp. 2182-2186). IEEE.

[2] Karakuş, O., Rizaev, I., & Achim, A. (2019). Ship Wake Detection in SAR Images via Sparse RegularizationIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing58(3), 1665-1677.

[3] Yang, T., Karakuş, O., & Achim, A. (2020, October). Detection of ship wakes in SAR imagery using Cauchy regularisation. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP) (pp. 3473-3477). IEEE.

[4] Karakuş, O., & Achim, A. (2020). On solving SAR imaging inverse problems using nonconvex regularization with a Cauchy-based penaltyIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.

[5] Ma, W., Achim, A., & Karakuş, O. (2020). Exploiting the Dual-Tree Complex Wavelet Transform for Ship Wake Detection in SAR ImageryarXiv preprint arXiv:2012.06663.


Oktay Karakuş, Tianqi Yang, Wanli Ma, Igor Rizaev, Alin Achim


O Karakus, and A Achim. (2020): “AssenSAR Wake Detector.”


This work was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grant EP/R009260/1 (AssenSAR).