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In Applied soft computing

With the widespread deployment of COVID-19 vaccines all around the world, billions of people have benefited from the vaccination and thereby avoiding infection. However, huge amount of clinical cases revealed diverse side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, among which cervical lymphadenopathy is one of the most frequent local reactions. Therefore, rapid detection of cervical lymph node (LN) is essential in terms of vaccine recipients' healthcare and avoidance of misdiagnosis in the post-pandemic era. This paper focuses on a novel deep learning-based framework for the rapid diagnosis of cervical lymphadenopathy towards COVID-19 vaccine recipients. Existing deep learning-based computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) methods for cervical LN enlargement mostly only depend on single modal images, e.g., grayscale ultrasound (US), color Doppler ultrasound, and CT, while failing to effectively integrate information from the multi-source medical images. Meanwhile, both the surrounding tissue objects of the cervical LNs and different regions inside the cervical LNs may imply valuable diagnostic knowledge which is pending for mining. In this paper, we propose an Tissue-Aware Cervical Lymph Node Diagnosis method (TACLND) via multi-modal ultrasound semantic segmentation. The method effectively integrates grayscale and color Doppler US images and realizes a pixel-level localization of different tissue objects, i.e., lymph, muscle, and blood vessels. With inter-tissue and intra-tissue attention mechanisms applied, our proposed method can enhance the implicit tissue-level diagnostic knowledge in both spatial and channel dimension, and realize diagnosis of cervical LN with normal, benign or malignant state. Extensive experiments conducted on our collected cervical LN US dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of our methods on both tissue detection and cervical lymphadenopathy diagnosis. Therefore, our proposed framework can guarantee efficient diagnosis for the vaccine recipients' cervical LN, and assist doctors to discriminate between COVID-related reactive lymphadenopathy and metastatic lymphadenopathy.

Gao Yue, Fu Xiangling, Chen Yuepeng, Guo Chenyi, Wu Ji


Attention mechanism, COVID-19, Cervical lymphadenopathy, Computer-aided diagnosis, Healthcare administration, Human-in-the-loop, Image classification, Multi-modal, Semantic segmentation