A method using deep learning to discover new predictors from left-ventricular mechanical dyssynchrony for CRT response

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Background: Studies have shown that the conventional parameters characterizing left ventricular mechanical dyssynchrony (LVMD) measured on gated SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) have their own statistical limitations in predicting cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) response. The purpose of this study is to discover new predictors from the polarmaps of LVMD by deep learning to help select heart failure patients with a high likelihood of response to CRT. Methods: One hundred and fifty-seven patients who underwent rest gated SPECT MPI were enrolled in this study. CRT response was defined as an increase in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) > 5% at 6 ± 1 month follow up. The autoencoder (AE) technique, an unsupervised deep learning method, was applied to the polarmaps of LVMD to extract new predictors characterizing LVMD. Pearson correlation analysis was used to explain the relationships between new predictors and existing clinical parameters. Patients from the IAEA VISION-CRT trial were used for an external validation. Heatmaps were used to interpret the AE-extracted feature. Results: Complete data were obtained in 130 patients, and 68.5% of them were classified as CRT responders. After variable selection by feature importance ranking and correlation analysis, one AE-extracted LVMD predictor was included in the statistical analysis. This new AE-extracted LVMD predictor showed statistical significance in the univariate (OR 2.00, P =.026) and multivariate (OR 1.11, P =.021) analyses, respectively. Moreover, the new AE-extracted LVMD predictor not only had incremental value over PBW and significant clinical variables, including QRS duration and left ventricular end-systolic volume (AUC 0.74 vs 0.72, LH 7.33, P =.007), but also showed encouraging predictive value in the 165 patients from the IAEA VISION-CRT trial (P <.1). The heatmaps for calculation of the AE-extracted predictor showed higher weights on the anterior, lateral, and inferior myocardial walls, which are recommended as LV pacing sites in clinical practice. Conclusions: AE techniques have significant value in the discovery of new clinical predictors. The new AE-extracted LVMD predictor extracted from the baseline gated SPECT MPI has the potential to improve the prediction of CRT response.

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Journal of Nuclear Cardiology