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In Computers in biology and medicine

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE : Stroke is the second most deadly disease globally and seriously endangers people's lives and health. The automatic detection of stroke lesions from diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can improve the diagnosis. Recently, automatic detection methods based on YOLOv5 have been utilized in medical images. However, most of them barely capture the stroke lesions because of their small size and fuzzy boundaries.

METHODS : To address this problem, a novel method for tracing the edge of the stroke lesion based on YOLOv5 (TE-YOLOv5) is proposed. Specifically, we constantly update the high-level features of the lesion using an aggregate pool (AP) module. Conversely, we feed the extracted feature into the reverse attention (RA) module to trace the edge relationship promptly. Overall, 1681 DWI images of 319 stroke patients have been collected, and experienced radiologists have marked the lesions. DWI images were randomly split into the training and test set at a ratio of 8:2. TE-YOLOv5 has been compared with the related models, and a detailed ablation analysis has been conducted to clarify the role of the RA and AP modules.

RESULTS : TE-YOLOv5 outperforms its counterparts and achieves competitive performance with a precision of 81.5%, a recall of 75.8%, and a mAP@0.5 of 80.7% (mean average precision while the intersection over union is 0.5) under the same backbone. At the patient level, the positive finding rate can reach 98.51%, while the confidence is set at 80.0%. After ablating RA, the mAP@0.5 decreases to 79.6%; after ablating RA and AP, the mAP@0.5 decreases to 78.1%.

CONCLUSIONS : The proposed TE-YOLOv5 can automatically and effectively detect stroke lesions from DWI images, especially for those with an extremely small size and blurred boundaries. AP and RA modules can aggregate multi-layer high-level features and concurrently track the edge relationship of stroke lesions. These detection methods might help radiologists improve stroke diagnosis and have great application potential in clinical practice.

Chen Shannan, Duan Jinfeng, Wang Hong, Wang Rongqiang, Li Jinze, Qi Miao, Duan Yang, Qi Shouliang


Deep learning, Diffusion-weighted image, Object detection, Stroke, YOLOv5