Prior-Attention Residual Learning for More Discriminative COVID-19 Screening in CT Images

We propose a conceptually simple framework for fast COVID-19 screening in 3D chest CT images. The framework can efficiently predict whether or not a CT scan contains pneumonia while simultaneously identifying pneumonia types between COVID-19 and Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) caused by other viruses. In the proposed method, two 3D-ResNets are coupled together into a single model for the two above-mentioned tasks via a novel prior-attention strategy. We extend residual learning with the proposed prior-attention mechanism and design a new so-called prior-attention residual learning (PARL) block. The model can be easily built by stacking the PARL blocks and trained end-to-end using multi-task losses. More specifically, one 3D-ResNet branch is trained as a binary classifier using lung images with and without pneumonia so that it can highlight the lesion areas within the lungs. Simultaneously, inside the PARL blocks, prior-attention maps are generated from this branch and used to guide another branch to learn more discriminative representations for the pneumonia-type classification. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed framework can significantly improve the performance of COVID-19 screening. Compared to other methods, it achieves a state-of-the-art result. Moreover, the proposed method can be easily extended to other similar clinical applications such as computer-aided detection and diagnosis of pulmonary nodules in CT images, glaucoma lesions in Retina fundus imag...
Source: IEE Transactions on Medical Imaging - Category: Biomedical Engineering Source Type: research

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