Using Radiomics as Prior Knowledge for Abnormality Classification and Localization in Chest X-rays

Yan Han, Chongyan Chen, Liyan Tang, Mingquan Lin, Ajay Jaiswal, Ying Ding, Yifan Peng

Chest X-rays become one of the most common medical diagnoses due to its noninvasiveness. The number of chest X-ray images has skyrocketed, but reading chest X-rays still have been manually performed by radiologists, which creates huge burnouts and delays. Traditionally, radiomics, as a subfield of radiology that can extract a large number of quantitative features from medical images, demonstrates its potential to facilitate medical imaging diagnosis before the deep learning era. In this paper, we develop an algorithm that can utilize the radiomics features to improve the abnormality classification performance. Our algorithm, ChexRadiNet, applies a light-weight but efficient triplet-attention mechanism for highlighting the meaningful image regions to improve localization accuracy. We first apply ChexRadiNet to classify the chest X-rays by using only image features. Then we use the generated heatmaps of chest X-rays to extract radiomics features. Finally, the extracted radiomics features could be used to guide our model to learn more robust accurate image features. After a number of iterations, our model could focus on more accurate image regions and extract more robust features. The empirical evaluation of our method supports our intuition and outperforms other state-of-the-art methods.

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