D2A U-Net: Automatic Segmentation of COVID-19 Lesions from CT Slices with Dilated Convolution and Dual Attention Mechanism

02/10/2021
by   Xiangyu Zhao, et al.
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused great casualties and becomes almost the most urgent public health events worldwide. Computed tomography (CT) is a significant screening tool for COVID-19 infection, and automated segmentation of lung infection in COVID-19 CT images will greatly assist diagnosis and health care of patients. However, accurate and automatic segmentation of COVID-19 lung infections remains to be challenging. In this paper we propose a dilated dual attention U-Net (D2A U-Net) for COVID-19 lesion segmentation in CT slices based on dilated convolution and a novel dual attention mechanism to address the issues above. We introduce a dilated convolution module in model decoder to achieve large receptive field, which refines decoding process and contributes to segmentation accuracy. Also, we present a dual attention mechanism composed of two attention modules which are inserted to skip connection and model decoder respectively. The dual attention mechanism is utilized to refine feature maps and reduce semantic gap between different levels of the model. The proposed method has been evaluated on open-source dataset and outperforms cutting edges methods in semantic segmentation. Our proposed D2A U-Net with pretrained encoder achieves a Dice score of 0.7298 and recall score of 0.7071. Besides, we also build a simplified D2A U-Net without pretrained encoder to provide a fair comparison with other models trained from scratch, which still outperforms popular U-Net family models with a Dice score of 0.7047 and recall score of 0.6626. Our experiment results have shown that by introducing dilated convolution and dual attention mechanism, the number of false positives is significantly reduced, which improves sensitivity to COVID-19 lesions and subsequently brings significant increase to Dice score.

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