Multi-task Deep Learning of Myocardial Blood Flow and Cardiovascular Risk Traits from PET Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Ming Wai Yeung, Jan Walter Benjamins, Remco J J Knol, Friso M van der Zant, Folkert W Asselbergs, Pim van der Harst, Luis Eduardo Juarez-Orozco

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Background: Advanced cardiac imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) is a powerful tool for the evaluation of known or suspected cardiovascular disease. Deep learning (DL) offers the possibility to abstract highly complex patterns to optimize classification and prediction tasks. Methods and Results: We utilized DL models with a multi-task learning approach to identify an impaired myocardial flow reserve (MFR <2.0 ml/g/min) as well as to classify cardiovascular risk traits (factors), namely sex, diabetes, arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and smoking at the individual-patient level from PET myocardial perfusion polar maps using transfer learning. Performance was assessed on a hold-out test set through the area under receiver operating curve (AUC). DL achieved the highest AUC of 0.94 [0.87-0.98] in classifying an impaired MFR in reserve perfusion polar maps. Fine-tuned DL for the classification of cardiovascular risk factors yielded the highest performance in the identification of sex from stress polar maps (AUC = 0.81 [0.73, 0.88]). Identification of smoking achieved an AUC = 0.71 [0.58, 0.85] from the analysis of rest polar maps. The identification of dyslipidemia and arterial hypertension showed poor performance and was not statistically significant. Conclusion: Multi-task DL for the evaluation of quantitative PET myocardial perfusion polar maps is able to identify an impaired MFR as well as cardiovascular risk traits such as sex, smoking and possibly diabetes at the individual-patient level.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3300-3310
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of nuclear cardiology
    Issue number6
    Early online date10 Mar 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


    • Cardiovascular risk factors
    • Deep learning
    • Medical image analysis
    • Myocardial perfusion
    • Nuclear medicine
    • PET imaging
    • explainAI
    • flow reserve

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