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Automate process for view classification of the Apical 4 chamber, Apical 2 chamber and Parasternal long axis. Segmentation of the Apical 4 chamber and Apical 2 chamber. Calculate measurements of the Ejection Fraction of the heart to classify it as normal, abnoral or grayzone.



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USAL Echocardiogram Analysis

This project automates the analysis of echocardiogram images to detect normal heart functioning. Echocardiograms are ultrasound images of the heart, that are lower in cost and quicker to perform than other imaging techniques such as MR images and CT scans. They are thus the most frequently used cardiac imaging technique for preventative screenings and ongoing monitoring of heart conditions. Cardiologists spend a significant amount of time analysing echocardiograms and reporting on the results. Many of these analytical studies are for people with normal heart functioning that require no further medical intervention. Automating the identification of normal heart function from echocardiogram images can potentially reduce the time that cardiologists spend in front of computers and help them increase the amount of time spent with ill patients that need them most.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
  3. Infrastructure requirements
  4. Installation and setup
  5. Run the Pipeline
  6. Code organisation
  7. Contributors
  8. License


Data Science for Social Good at Imperial College London 2019

The Data Science for Social Good Fellowship is a summer program to train aspiring data scientists to work on data mining, machine learning, big data, and data science projects with social impact. Working closely with governments and nonprofits, fellows take on real-world problems in education, health, energy, public safety, transportation, economic development, international development, and more.

For three months they learn, hone, and apply their data science, analytical, and coding skills, collaborate in a fast-paced atmosphere, and learn from mentors coming from industry and academia.


The project was done in collaboration with the CIBERCV (Biomedical Research Networking Centres - Cardiovascular) research team working at the Hospital Universitario de Salamanca (USAL). USAL has one of the most advanced cardiographic imaging units in Spain and serves an ageing, largely rural population. The team of cardiologists at USAL is investigating new technologies such as artificial intelligence to help improve patient care.


The echocardiogram analysis process consists of 3 major processing steps.

  1. View Classification into A2C (apical two chamber), A4C (apical four chamber) and Plax (parasternal long axis) views.
  2. Segmentation of heart chambers in each of these three views.
  3. Calculation of measurements (in particular the left ventricular ejection fraction) and assessment of heart condition as "normal", "grey-zone" or "abnormal".

Our pipeline has been designed to run in a modular way. Data ingestion, cleaning and view filtering can be run independently from the classification, segmentation and measurement modules provided that the dicom files are stored in an accessible directory. The name of this directory needs to be specified when running the pipeline (see Section 5).

The processing pipeline is structured as follows. USAL Echo Project Overview

The codebase is an evolution of code developed by Zhang et al.

Infrastructure requirements

We retrieve our data from an AWS S3 bucket and use an AWS EC2 server for running all code. Results for each processing layer are stored in an AWS RDS.

Infrastructure: AWS

+ AMI: ami-079bef5a6246ca216, Deep Learning AMI (Ubuntu) Version 23.1
+ EC2 instance: p3.2xlarge
    + GPU: 1
    + vCPU: 8
    + RAM: 61 GB
+ OS: ubuntu 18.04 LTS
+ Volumes: 1
    + Type: gp2
    + Size: 450 GB
+ RDS: PostgreSQL
    + Engine: PostgreSQL
    + Engine version: 10.6
    + Instance: db.t2.xlarge
    + vCPU: 2
    + RAM: 4 GB
    + Storage: 100 GB

Installation and setup

0. Requirements

In addition to the infrastructure mentioned above, the following software is required:

All instructions that follow assume that you are working in your terminal.

You need to install and update the following packages on your system before activating any virtual environment.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install make gcc jq libpq-dev postgresql-client postgresql-client python3 python3-dev python3-venv
sudo apt-get install libgdcm-tools

When installing these libraries, it is possible that a message window will pop up while trying to configure the library libssl1.1:amd64. This message is normal and tells you that some of the services need a restart. Say yes and enter to continue. The system will take care of restarting the required services.

1. Conda env and pip install

Clone the TensorFlow Python3 conda environment in your GPU instance set up with AWS Deep Learning AMI and activate it.

conda create --name usal_echo --clone tensorflow_p36
echo ". /home/ubuntu/anaconda3/etc/profile.d/" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc
conda activate usal_echo

2. Clone and setup repository

After activating your Anaconda environment, clone this repository into your work space. Navigate to usal_echo and install the required packages with pip. Then run the script.

git clone
cd usal_echo
pip install -r requirements.txt
python install

3. Credentials files

To run the pipeline, you need to specify the credentials for your aws and postgres infrastructure. The pipeline looks for credentials files in specific locations. You should create these now if they do not already exist.

aws credentials

Located in ~/.aws/credentials and formatted as:

mkdir ~/.aws
nano ~/.aws/credentials

# Then paste the access id and key below into the file


The pipeline uses the default user credentials.

postgres credentials

Modify the postgres credentials in ~/usr/usal_echo/conf/local/postgres_credentials.json. This file must exist to run the pipeline. An example is created during setup and you must modify it for your configuration.

cd ~/usr/usal_echo/conf/
nano postgres_credentials.json

# Then modify the postgres credentials below into the file

"host": "",
"database": "your_database_name",
"psswd": "your_database_password"

4. Specify data paths

The parameters for the s3 bucket and for storing dicom files, images and models must be stored as a yaml file in ~/usr/usal_echo/conf/path_parameters.yml. This file must exist to run the pipeline. An example is created during setup and you must modify it for your configuration.

cd ~/usr/usal_echo/conf/
nano path_parameters.yml

# Then modify the paths below in the file

bucket: "your_s3_bucket_name"
dcm_dir: "~/data/01_raw"
img_dir: "~/data/02_intermediate"
segmentation_dir: "~/data/04_segmentation"
model_dir: "~/models"
classification_model: "model.ckpt-6460"

The dcm_dir is the directory to which dicom files will be downloaded. The img_dir is the directory to which jpg images are saved. The model_dir is the directory in which models are stored. The classification and segmentation models must be saved in the model_dir. Use ~/ to refer to the user directory.

5. Download models

The models used to run this pipeline can be downloaded from s3:

  • classification: original from Zhang et al, adapted to our dataset using transfer learning.
  • segmentation: original from Zhang et al without adaptation

They need to be saved in the model_dir that you have specified above, and that model_dir needs to already have been created.

6. Create the database schema

As per the requirements listed in Infrastructure requirements you require a database indtallation with credentials stored as described above. After the database has been created, you need to run the script that creates the different schema that we require to persist the outputs from the different pipeline processes: classification, segmentation and measurements. The database schema is stored in usr/usal_echo/conf/models_schema.sql and must be set up by running the following command (change psswd, user, database and host to correspond with your setup):

PGPASSWORD=psswd psql -U user -d database_name -h host -f '/home/ubuntu/usr/usal_echo/conf/models_schema.sql'

Run the pipelineent

The final step is to run the script which can be called from within the usal_echo directory using the short cut usal_echo:


Running usal_echo will launch a questionnaire in your command line that takes you through the setup options for running the pipeline. The options are discussed in detail below.

Pipeline options

To navigate through the options in the command line prompt hit spacebar to check or uncheck multiple choice options and Enter to select an option. Navigate between options with the up and down arrows. You can abort the process with Ctrl+C.

Data ingestion

Select to ingest or not to ingest dicom metadata and the Xcelera database. NB: ingesting the dicom metadata for 25 000 studies takes ~3 days!

Run pipeline: ingest.

This step includes the following subprocesses:

dicom metadata
Xcelera data

Dicom image download

This step downloads and decompresses the dicom files. The files to download are determined based on the test/train split ratio and downsample ratio, both of which must be specified if this option is selected.

If Train test ration = 0, then all the files are downloaded into the test set.
If Train test ratio = 1, then no files are downloaded into the test set. If Downsample ratio = 1, no downsampling is done. If 0 < Downsample ratio < 1, then are portion of files corresponding to the downsample ratio is downloaded.

Run pipeline: download.

The download step executes the following function:

d02_intermediate.download_dcm.s3_download_decomp_dcm(train_test_ratio, downsample_ratio, dcm_dir, bucket=bucket)

s3_download_decomp_dcm executes two processing steps: it downloads files from s3 and then decompresses them. If you already have a directory with dicom files that are not decompressed, you can use d02_intermediate.download_dcm._decompress_dcm() to decompress your images. The convention is that decompressed images are stored in a subdirectory of the original directory named raw and that filenames are appended with _raw to end in .dcm_raw.

The naming convention for downloaded files is the following: test_split[ratio * 100]_downsampleby[inverse ratio]. For example, if Train test ratio = 0.5 and Downsample ratio = 0.001 the directory name will be test_split50_downsampleby1000.

Module selection

Select one or more modules for inference and evaluation.

Run pipeline: classification.

The following functions are executed in each module. dir_name is the directory specified in the next step. dcm_dir and img_dir are specified in path_paramters.yml:

img_dir_path = os.path.join(img_dir, dir_name)
dcmdir_to_jpgs_for_classification(dcm_dir, img_dir_path)
d03_classification.predict_views.run_classify(img_dir_path, classification_model_path)
d03_classification.evaluate_views.evaluate_views(img_dir_path, classification_model)
dcm_dir_path = os.path.join(dcm_dir, dir_name)
d04_segmentation.segment_view.run_segment(dcm_dir_path, model_dir, img_dir_path, classification_model)

Specification of image directory

Finally, specify the name of the directory which contains the dicom files and images (ie the name of the subdirectory in dcm_dir and img_dir that contains the data you want to access). It is important that these two subdirectories have the same name, as the classification module accesses the img_dir while the segmentation module accesses the dcm_dir.

Run pipeline: specify directory.

Log files

The log files are stored in ~/usr/usal_echo/logs.


A set of notebooks exists in the notebooks directory of this repository. They contain the functions for each of the pipeline steps, as well as some elementary data analysis and can be used to experiment.

Code organisation

The code is organised as follows:

  1. d00_utils: Utility functions used throughout the system
  2. d01_data: Ingesting dicom metadata and XCelera csv files from s3 into database
  3. d02_intermediate: Cleaning and filtering database tables, downloading, decompressing and extracting images from dicom files for experiments
  4. d03_classification: Classification of dicom images in image directory
  5. d04_segmentation: Segmentation of heart chambers
  6. d05_measurements: Calculation of measurements from segmentations
  7. d06_visualisation: Generating plots for reporting


Fellows: Courtney Irwin, Dave Van Veen, Wiebke Toussaint, Yoni Nachmany
Technical mentor: Liliana Millán (Technical Mentor)
Project manager: Sara Guerreiro de Sousa (Project Manager)


This codebase is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Routine heart condition check for everyone.


Automate process for view classification of the Apical 4 chamber, Apical 2 chamber and Parasternal long axis. Segmentation of the Apical 4 chamber and Apical 2 chamber. Calculate measurements of the Ejection Fraction of the heart to classify it as normal, abnoral or grayzone.







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