A Framework for Integrating Domain Knowledge into Deep Networks for Lung Ultrasound, and its Applications to COVID-19

Oz Frank, Nir Schipper, Mordehay Vaturi, Gino Soldati, Andrea Smargiassi, Riccardo Inchingolo, Tiziano Perrone, Federico Mento, Libertario Demi, Meirav Galun, Yonina C. Eldar, Shai Bagon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lung ultrasound (LUS) is a cheap, safe and non-invasive imaging modality that can be performed at patient bedside. However, to date LUS is not widely adopted due to lack of trained personnel required for interpreting the acquired LUS frames. In this work we propose a framework for training deep artificial neural networks for interpreting LUS, which may promote broader use of LUS. When using LUS to evaluate a patient's condition, both anatomical phenomena (e.g., the pleural line, presence of consolidations), as well as sonographic artifacts (such as A-and B-lines) are of importance. In our framework, we propose to provide a deep neural network not only the raw LUS frames as input, but explicitly inform it of these important anatomical features and artifacts in the form of additional channels containing pleural and vertical artifacts masks. By explicitly supplying this domain knowledge to deep models standard off-the-shelf neural networks can be rapidly and efficiently finetuned to perform well various tasks on LUS data, such as frame classification or semantic segmentation. Our framework allows for a unified treatment of LUS frames captured by either convex or linear probes. We evaluated our proposed framework on the task of COVID-19 severity assessment using the ICLUS dataset. In particular, we finetuned simple image classification models to predict per-frame COVID-19 severity score. We also trained a semantic segmentation model to predict per-pixel COVID-19 severity annotations. Using the combined raw LUS frames and the detected lines for both tasks, our off-the-shelf models performed better than complicated models specifically designed for these tasks, exemplifying the efficacy of our framework.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 2021


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