Automated echocardiogram interpretation with artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to facilitate the serial diagnosis of heart defects by primary clinician. However, the fully automated and interpretable analysis pipeline for suggesting a treatment plan is largely underexplored. The present study targets to build an automatic and interpretable assistant for the transthoracic echocardiogram- (TTE-) based assessment of atrial septal defect (ASD) with deep learning (DL). We developed a novel deep keypoint stadiometry (DKS) model, which learns to precisely localize the keypoints, i.e., the endpoints of defects and followed by the absolute distance measurement with the scale. The closure plan and the size of the ASD occluder for transcatheter closure are derived based on the explicit clinical decision rules. A total of 3,474 2D and Doppler TTE from 579 patients were retrospectively collected from two clinical groups. The accuracy of closure classification using DKS (0.9425 ± 0.0052) outperforms the “black-box” model (0.7646 ± 0.0068; p < 0.0001) for within-center evaluation. The results in cross-center cases or using the quadratic weighted kappa as an evaluation metric are consistent. The fine-grained keypoint label provides more explicit supervision for network training. While DKS can be fully automated, clinicians can intervene and edit at different steps of the process as well. Our deep learning keypoint localization can provide an automatic and transparent way for assessing size-sensitive congenital heart defects, which has huge potential value for application in primary medical institutions in China. Also, more size-sensitive treatment planning tasks may be explored in the future.
Copyright © 2022 Jing Wang et al.
Conflict of interest statement
Authors declare that they have no competing interests.