Improving Classification Model Performance on Chest X-Rays through Lung Segmentation

by   Hilda Azimi, et al.

Chest radiography is an effective screening tool for diagnosing pulmonary diseases. In computer-aided diagnosis, extracting the relevant region of interest, i.e., isolating the lung region of each radiography image, can be an essential step towards improved performance in diagnosing pulmonary disorders. Methods: In this work, we propose a deep learning approach to enhance abnormal chest x-ray (CXR) identification performance through segmentations. Our approach is designed in a cascaded manner and incorporates two modules: a deep neural network with criss-cross attention modules (XLSor) for localizing lung region in CXR images and a CXR classification model with a backbone of a self-supervised momentum contrast (MoCo) model pre-trained on large-scale CXR data sets. The proposed pipeline is evaluated on Shenzhen Hospital (SH) data set for the segmentation module, and COVIDx data set for both segmentation and classification modules. Novel statistical analysis is conducted in addition to regular evaluation metrics for the segmentation module. Furthermore, the results of the optimized approach are analyzed with gradient-weighted class activation mapping (Grad-CAM) to investigate the rationale behind the classification decisions and to interpret its choices. Results and Conclusion: Different data sets, methods, and scenarios for each module of the proposed pipeline are examined for designing an optimized approach, which has achieved an accuracy of 0.946 in distinguishing abnormal CXR images (i.e., Pneumonia and COVID-19) from normal ones. Numerical and visual validations suggest that applying automated segmentation as a pre-processing step for classification improves the generalization capability and the performance of the classification models.


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