Adiposity accumulation in the liver is an early-stage indicator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Analysis of ultrasound (US) backscatter echoes from liver parenchyma with deep learning (DL) may offer an affordable alternative for hepatic steatosis staging. The aim of this work was to compare DL classification scores for liver steatosis using different data representations constructed from raw US data. Steatosis in N = 31 patients with confirmed or suspected non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was stratified based on fat-fraction cutoff values using magnetic resonance imaging as a reference standard. US radiofrequency (RF) frames (raw data) and clinical B-mode images were acquired. Intermediate image formation stages were modeled from RF data. Power spectrum representations and phase representations were also calculated. Co-registered patches were used to independently train 1-, 2- and 3-D convolutional neural networks (CNNs), and classifications scores were compared with cross-validation. There were 67,800 patches available for 2-D/3-D classification and 1,830,600 patches for 1-D classification. The results were also compared with radiologist B-mode annotations and quantitative ultrasound (QUS) metrics. Patch classification scores (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC]) revealed significant reductions along successive stages of the image formation process (p < 0.001). Patient AUROCs were 0.994 for RF data and 0.938 for clinical B-mode images. For all image formation stages, 2-D CNNs revealed higher patch and patient AUROCs than 1-D CNNs. CNNs trained with power spectrum representations converged faster than those trained with RF data. Phase information, which is usually discarded in the image formation process, provided a patient AUROC of 0.988. DL models trained with RF and power spectrum data (AUROC = 0.998) provided higher scores than conventional QUS metrics and multiparametric combinations thereof (AUROC = 0.986). Radiologist annotations indicated lower hepatic steatosis classification accuracies (Acc = 0.914) with respect to magnetic resonance imaging proton density fat fraction that DL models (Acc = 0.989). Access to raw ultrasound data combined with artificial intelligence techniques may offer superior opportunities for quantitative tissue diagnostics than conventional sonographic images.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2022.05.031
View details for PubMedID 35914993