Direct Estimation of Regional Wall Thicknesses via Residual Recurrent Neural Network

26 May 2017  ·  Wufeng Xue, Ilanit Ben Nachum, Sachin Pandey, James Warrington, Stephanie Leung, Shuo Li ·

Accurate estimation of regional wall thicknesses (RWT) of left ventricular (LV) myocardium from cardiac MR sequences is of significant importance for identification and diagnosis of cardiac disease. Existing RWT estimation still relies on segmentation of LV myocardium, which requires strong prior information and user interaction. No work has been devoted into direct estimation of RWT from cardiac MR images due to the diverse shapes and structures for various subjects and cardiac diseases, as well as the complex regional deformation of LV myocardium during the systole and diastole phases of the cardiac cycle. In this paper, we present a newly proposed Residual Recurrent Neural Network (ResRNN) that fully leverages the spatial and temporal dynamics of LV myocardium to achieve accurate frame-wise RWT estimation. Our ResRNN comprises two paths: 1) a feed forward convolution neural network (CNN) for effective and robust CNN embedding learning of various cardiac images and preliminary estimation of RWT from each frame itself independently, and 2) a recurrent neural network (RNN) for further improving the estimation by modeling spatial and temporal dynamics of LV myocardium. For the RNN path, we design for cardiac sequences a Circle-RNN to eliminate the effect of null hidden input for the first time-step. Our ResRNN is capable of obtaining accurate estimation of cardiac RWT with Mean Absolute Error of 1.44mm (less than 1-pixel error) when validated on cardiac MR sequences of 145 subjects, evidencing its great potential in clinical cardiac function assessment.

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