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A deep learning method to identify and localize large-vessel occlusions from cerebral digital subtraction angiography.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: An essential step during endovascular thrombectomy is identifying the occluded arterial vessel on a cerebral digital subtraction angiogram (DSA). We developed an algorithm that can detect and localize the position of occlusions in cerebral DSA.

METHODS: We retrospectively collected cerebral DSAs from a single institution between 2018 and 2020 from 188 patients, 86 of whom suffered occlusions of the M1 and proximal M2 segments. We trained an ensemble of deep-learning models on fewer than 60 large-vessel occlusion (LVO)-positive patients. We evaluated the model on an independent test set and evaluated the truth of its predicted localizations using Intersection over Union and expert review.

RESULTS: On an independent test set of 166 cerebral DSA frames with an LVO prevalence of 0.19, the model achieved a specificity of 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.90, 0.99), a precision of 0.7450 (95% CI: 0.64, 0.88), and a sensitivity of 0.76 (95% CI: 0.66, 0.91). The model correctly localized the LVO in at least one frame in 13 of the 14 LVO-positive patients in the test set. The model achieved a precision of 0.67 (95% CI: 0.52, 0.79), recall of 0.69 (95% CI: 0.46, 0.81), and a mean average precision of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.56, 0.91).

CONCLUSION: This work demonstrates that a deep learning strategy using a limited dataset can generate effective representations used to identify LVOs. Generating an expanded and more complete dataset of LVOs with obstructed LVOs is likely the best way to improve the model's ability to localize LVOs.

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