Objectives: To differentiate hypo-/hypertelorism (abnormal) from normal fetuses using automatic biometric measurements and machine learning (ML) classification based on MRI. Methods: MRI data of normal (n = 244) and abnormal (n = 52) fetuses of 22–40 weeks’ gestational age (GA), scanned between March 2008 and June 2020 on 1.5/3T systems with various T2-weighted sequences and image resolutions, were included. A fully automatic method including deep learning and geometric algorithms was developed to measure the binocular (BOD), inter-ocular (IOD), ocular (OD) diameters, and ocular volume (OV). Two new parameters, BOD-ratio and IOD-ratio, were defined as the ratio between BOD/IOD relative to the sum of both globes’ OD, respectively. Eight ML classifiers were evaluated to detect abnormalities using measured and computed parameters. Results: The automatic method yielded a mean difference of BOD = 0.70 mm, IOD = 0.81 mm, OD = 1.00 mm, and a 3D-Dice score of OV = 93.7%. In normal fetuses, all four measurements increased with GA. Constant values were detected for BOD-ratio = 1.56 ± 0.05 and IOD-ratio = 0.60 ± 0.05 across all GA and when calculated from previously published reference data of both MRI and ultrasound. A random forest classifier yielded the best results on an independent test set (n = 58): AUC-ROC = 0.941 and F1-Score = 0.711 in comparison to AUC-ROC = 0.650 and F1-Score = 0.385 achieved based on the accepted criteria that define hypo/hypertelorism based on IOD (< 5th or > 95th percentiles). Using the explainable ML method, the two computed ratios were found as the most contributing parameters. Conclusions: The developed fully automatic method demonstrates high performance on varied clinical imaging data. The new BOD and IOD ratios and ML multi-parametric classifier are suggested to improve the differentiation of hypo-/hypertelorism from normal fetuses. Key Points: • A fully automatic method for computing fetal ocular biometry from MRI is proposed, achieving high performance, comparable to that of an expert fetal neuro-radiologist. • Two new parameters, IOD-ratio and BOD-ratio, are proposed for routine clinical use in ultrasound and MRI. These two ratios are constant across gestational age in normal fetuses, consistent across studies, and differentiate between fetuses with and without hypo/hypertelorism. • Multi-parametric machine learning classification based on automatic measurements and the two new ratios improves the identification of fetal ocular anomalies beyond the accepted criteria (<5thor >95thIOD percentiles).
- Deep learning
- Magnetic resonance imaging
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging