SS-CXR: Multitask Representation Learning using Self Supervised Pre-training from Chest X-Rays

by   Syed Muhammad Anwar, et al.

Chest X-rays (CXRs) are a widely used imaging modality for the diagnosis and prognosis of lung disease. The image analysis tasks vary. Examples include pathology detection and lung segmentation. There is a large body of work where machine learning algorithms are developed for specific tasks. A significant recent example is Coronavirus disease (covid-19) detection using CXR data. However, the traditional diagnostic tool design methods based on supervised learning are burdened by the need to provide training data annotation, which should be of good quality for better clinical outcomes. Here, we propose an alternative solution, a new self-supervised paradigm, where a general representation from CXRs is learned using a group-masked self-supervised framework. The pre-trained model is then fine-tuned for domain-specific tasks such as covid-19, pneumonia detection, and general health screening. We show that the same pre-training can be used for the lung segmentation task. Our proposed paradigm shows robust performance in multiple downstream tasks which demonstrates the success of the pre-training. Moreover, the performance of the pre-trained models on data with significant drift during test time proves the learning of a better generic representation. The methods are further validated by covid-19 detection in a unique small-scale pediatric data set. The performance gain in accuracy ( 25%) is significant when compared to a supervised transformer-based method. This adds credence to the strength and reliability of our proposed framework and pre-training strategy.


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