Label Dropout: Improved Deep Learning Echocardiography Segmentation Using Multiple Datasets With Domain Shift and Partial Labelling

12 Mar 2024  ·  Iman Islam, Esther Puyol-Antón, Bram Ruijsink, Andrew J. Reader, Andrew P. King ·

Echocardiography (echo) is the first imaging modality used when assessing cardiac function. The measurement of functional biomarkers from echo relies upon the segmentation of cardiac structures and deep learning models have been proposed to automate the segmentation process. However, in order to translate these tools to widespread clinical use it is important that the segmentation models are robust to a wide variety of images (e.g. acquired from different scanners, by operators with different levels of expertise etc.). To achieve this level of robustness it is necessary that the models are trained with multiple diverse datasets. A significant challenge faced when training with multiple diverse datasets is the variation in label presence, i.e. the combined data are often partially-labelled. Adaptations of the cross entropy loss function have been proposed to deal with partially labelled data. In this paper we show that training naively with such a loss function and multiple diverse datasets can lead to a form of shortcut learning, where the model associates label presence with domain characteristics, leading to a drop in performance. To address this problem, we propose a novel label dropout scheme to break the link between domain characteristics and the presence or absence of labels. We demonstrate that label dropout improves echo segmentation Dice score by 62% and 25% on two cardiac structures when training using multiple diverse partially labelled datasets.

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