Artificial Intelligence Aids Cardiac Image Quality Assessment for Improving Precision in Strain Measurements

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 Feb;14(2):335-345. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2020.08.034. Epub 2020 Nov 18.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to develop an artificial intelligence tool to assess echocardiographic image quality objectively.

Background: Left ventricular global longitudinal strain (LVGLS) has recently been used to monitor cancer therapeutics-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD) but image quality limits its reliability.

Methods: A DenseNet-121 convolutional neural network was developed for view identification from an athlete's echocardiographic dataset. To prove the concept that classification confidence (CC) can serve as a quality marker, values of longitudinal strain derived from feature tracking of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging and strain analysis of echocardiography were compared. The CC was then applied to patients with breast cancer free from CTRCD to investigate the effects of image quality on the reliability of strain analysis.

Results: CC of the apical 4-chamber view (A4C) was significantly correlated with the endocardial border delineation index. CC of A4C >900 significantly predicted a <15% relative difference in longitudinal strain between CMR feature tracking and automated echocardiographic analysis. Echocardiographic studies (n =752) of 102 patients with breast cancer without CTRCD were investigated. The strain analysis showed higher parallel forms, inter-rater, and test-retest reliabilities in patients with CC of A4C >900. During sequential comparisons of automated LVGLS in individual patients, those with CC of A4C >900 had a lower false positive detection rate of CTRCD.

Conclusions: CC of A4C was associated with the reliability of automated LVGLS and could also potentially be used as a filter to select comparable images from sequential echocardiographic studies in individual patients and reduce the false positive detection rate of CTRCD.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; automated strain analysis; cancer therapeutics−related cardiac dysfunction; left ventricular global longitudinal strain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left