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Artificial Intelligence in Ultrasound




Artificial Intelligence (AI), the intelligent learning behaviour of computers, is the driving force behind fully autonomous vehicles and intelligent smart phone personal assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. It has been used in medical imaging for mammography breast lesion detection for over 20 years and has been hailed as the next near future big leap in imaging technology (3,4). However, its use in Ultrasound has until now been largely a theoretical exercise and its practical application only a very recent phenomenon that is beginning to be adopted by some Manufacturers.  AI can benefit the ultrasound clinician in a number of ways including standardising measurements, reducing intraoperative error and decreasing scan time. 

Smart Planes by Mindray is the latest innovative AI driven solution for automatic detection of standard central nervous system (CNS) planes and measurements. Using a 3D transducer, a volumetric dataset is acquired in the biparietal diameter (BPD) plane. The image is then automatically reconstructed in the Mid-Sagittal Plane, the Trans-Cerebellar Plane, the Trans-Thalamic Plane, and the Trans-Ventricular Plane. A range of related CNS anatomical measurements (BPD, HC, OFD, TCD, CM and LVW) are then immediately and automatically obtained. Smart Planes is available on Mindray’s premium ultrasound imaging systems and greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of fetal CNS studies, reducing scan time and decreasing inter-operative error. It achieves this through Deep Learning, the field of computer science that allows for the construction of computer algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data. Deep learning as a function of AI requires very large datasets to function accurately (1). A major advantage for Shenzhen based Mindray, is that they have access to data from hospitals throughout China one of the world’s largest populations, providing them with huge data sets for both normal and abnormal cases. The research undertaken into medical AI in China is of paramount importance and therefore participation by both hospitals and patients alike is high. Thus ensuring large quantities of data are made available and it is this availability that keeps Mindray one step ahead in research and technology. 

Mindray's Smart Planes feature, with artificial intelligence based on over 5000 individual obstetric cases, provides a user-friendly tool that greatly improves scanning efficiency through increased accuracy coupled with automated operation (2). 



Paul Coussens – Sonographer / Clinical Applications Specialist 

References  1.Russell, S.J. and Norvig, P., 2016. Artificial intelligence: a modern approach. Malaysia; Pearson Education Limited,.  

2. Zou, Y., Lin, M., Brennan, K. and Xiong, Y., 2017. Smart Planes, Computer-Aided Solution for Examination of Fetal Brain. White Paper          

3. C J Vyborny and M L Giger. 1994. American Journal of Roentgenology 162:3, 699-708 4. Dilsizian, S.E. & Siegel, E.L. Curr Cardiol Rep (2014) 16: 441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-013-0441-8

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