Full Quantification of Left Ventricle via Deep Multitask Learning Network Respecting Intra- and Inter-Task Relatedness

Wufeng Xue, Andrea Lum, Ashley Mercado, Mark Landis, James Warringto, Shuo Li

Cardiac left ventricle (LV) quantification is among the most clinically important tasks for identification and diagnosis of cardiac diseases, yet still a challenge due to the high variability of cardiac structure and the complexity of temporal dynamics. Full quantification, i.e., to simultaneously quantify all LV indices including two areas (cavity and myocardium), six regional wall thicknesses (RWT), three LV dimensions, and one cardiac phase, is even more challenging since the uncertain relatedness intra and inter each type of indices may hinder the learning procedure from better convergence and generalization. In this paper, we propose a newly-designed multitask learning network (FullLVNet), which is constituted by a deep convolution neural network (CNN) for expressive feature embedding of cardiac structure; two followed parallel recurrent neural network (RNN) modules for temporal dynamic modeling; and four linear models for the final estimation. During the final estimation, both intra- and inter-task relatedness are modeled to enforce improvement of generalization: 1) respecting intra-task relatedness, group lasso is applied to each of the regression tasks for sparse and common feature selection and consistent prediction; 2) respecting inter-task relatedness, three phase-guided constraints are proposed to penalize violation of the temporal behavior of the obtained LV indices. Experiments on MR sequences of 145 subjects show that FullLVNet achieves high accurate prediction with our intra- and inter-task relatedness, leading to MAE of 190mm$^2$, 1.41mm, 2.68mm for average areas, RWT, dimensions and error rate of 10.4\% for the phase classification. This endows our method a great potential in comprehensive clinical assessment of global, regional and dynamic cardiac function.

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