Deep-learning cardiac motion analysis for human survival prediction


Motion analysis is used in computer vision to understand the behaviour of moving objects in sequences of images. Optimizing the interpretation of dynamic biological systems requires accurate and precise motion tracking as well as efficient representations of high-dimensional motion trajectories so that these can be used for prediction tasks. Here we use image sequences of the heart, acquired using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, to create time-resolved three-dimensional segmentations using a fully convolutional network trained on anatomical shape priors. This dense motion model formed the input to a supervised denoising autoencoder (4Dsurvival), which is a hybrid network consisting of an autoencoder that learns a task-specific latent code representation trained on observed outcome data, yielding a latent representation optimized for survival prediction. To handle right-censored survival outcomes, our network used a Cox partial likelihood loss function. In a study of 302 patients, the predictive accuracy (quantified by Harrell’s C-index) was significantly higher (P = 0.0012) for our model C = 0.75 (95% CI: 0.70–0.79) than the human benchmark of C = 0.59 (95% CI: 0.53–0.65). This work demonstrates how a complex computer vision task using high-dimensional medical image data can efficiently predict human survival.

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Fig. 1: Segmentation and motion estimation.
Fig. 2: Kaplan–Meier Plots.
Fig. 3: Model interpretation.
Fig. 4: Flow chart showing the design of the study.
Fig. 5: The architecture of the segmentation algorithm.
Fig. 6: The architecture of the prediction network.

Data and code availability

Algorithms, motion models and statistical analysis are publicly available on Github under a GNU General Public License ( A training simulation is available as a Docker image with an interactive Jupyter notebook hosted on Code Ocean ( Personal data are not available due to privacy restrictions.


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The research was supported by the British Heart Foundation (NH/17/1/32725, RE/13/4/30184); the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London; and the Medical Research Council, UK. The TITAN Xp GPU used for this research was kindly donated by the NVIDIA Corporation.

Author information

G.A.B., C.B. and T.J.W.D. contributed to methodology, software, formal analysis and writing original draft. J.D. contributed to methodology, software and writing original draft; A.d.M. was involved with formal analysis; L.S.G.E.H., J.S.R.G., M.R.W. and S.A.C. were involved in investigation; D.R. contributed to software and supervision; D.P.O. was responsible for conceptualization, supervision, writing (review and editing) and funding acquisition. All authors reviewed the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Declan P. O’Regan.

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Bello, G.A., Dawes, T.J.W., Duan, J. et al. Deep-learning cardiac motion analysis for human survival prediction. Nat Mach Intell 1, 95–104 (2019).

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