Training Deep Networks on Domain Randomized Synthetic X-ray Data for Cardiac Interventions
Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Medical Imaging with Deep Learning, PMLR 102:468-482, 2019.
One of the most significant challenges of using machine learning to create practical clinical applications in medical imaging is the limited availability of training data and accurate annotations. This problem is acute in novel multi-modal image registration applications where complete datasets may not be collected in standard clinical practice, data may be collected at different times and deformation makes perfect annotations impossible. Training machine learning systems on fully synthetic data is becoming increasingly common in the research community. However, transferring to real world applications without compromising performance is highly challenging. Transfer learning methods adapt the training data, learned features, or the trained models to provide higher performance on the target domain. These methods are designed with the available samples, but if the samples used are not representative of the target domain, the method will overfit to the samples and will not generalize. This problem is exacerbated in medical imaging, where data of the target domain is extremely scarse. This paper proposes to use Domain Randomization (DR) to bridge the reality gap between the training and target domains, requiring no samples of the target domain. DR adds unrealistic perturbations to the training data, such that the target domain becomes just another variation. The effects of DR are demonstrated on a challenging task: 3D/2D cardiac model-to-X-ray registration, trained fully on synthetic data generated from 1711 clinical CT volumes. A thorough qualitative and quantitative evaluation of transfer to clinical data is performed. Results show that without DR training parameters have little influence on performance on the training domain of digitally reconstructed radiographs, but can cause substantial variation on the target domain (X-rays). DR results in a significantly more consistent transfer to the target domain.