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In Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine

Age has important implications for health, and understanding how age manifests in the human body is the first step for a potential intervention. This becomes especially important for cardiac health, since age is the main risk factor for development of cardiovascular disease. Data-driven modeling of age progression has been conducted successfully in diverse applications such as face or brain aging. While longitudinal data is the preferred option for training deep learning models, collecting such a dataset is usually very costly, especially in medical imaging. In this work, a conditional generative adversarial network is proposed to synthesize older and younger versions of a heart scan by using only cross-sectional data. We train our model with more than 14,000 different scans from the UK Biobank. The induced modifications focused mainly on the interventricular septum and the aorta, which is consistent with the existing literature in cardiac aging. We evaluate the results by measuring image quality, the mean absolute error for predicted age using a pre-trained regressor, and demonstrate the application of synthetic data for counter-balancing biased datasets. The results suggest that the proposed approach is able to model realistic changes in the heart using only cross-sectional data and that these data can be used to correct age bias in a dataset.

Campello Víctor M, Xia Tian, Liu Xiao, Sanchez Pedro, Martín-Isla Carlos, Petersen Steffen E, Seguí Santi, Tsaftaris Sotirios A, Lekadir Karim


aging heart, data augmentation, generative adversarial network, magnetic resonance imaging, synthesis