GeoECG: Data Augmentation via Wasserstein Geodesic Perturbation for Robust Electrocardiogram Prediction


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There has been an increased interest in applying deep neural networks to automatically interpret and analyze the 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). The current paradigms with machine learning methods are often limited by the amount of labeled data. This phenomenon is particularly problematic for clinically-relevant data, where labeling at scale can be time-consuming and costly in terms of the specialized expertise and human effort required. Moreover, deep learning classifiers may be vulnerable to adversarial examples and perturbations, which could have catastrophic consequences, for example, when applied in the context of medical treatment, clinical trials, or insurance claims. In this paper, we propose a physiologically-inspired data augmentation method to improve performance and increase the robustness of heart disease detection based on ECG signals. We obtain augmented samples by perturbing the data distribution towards other classes along the geodesic in Wasserstein space. To better utilize domain-specific knowledge, we design a ground metric that recognizes the difference between ECG signals based on physiologically determined features. Learning from 12-lead ECG signals, our model is able to distinguish five categories of cardiac conditions. Our results demonstrate improvements in accuracy and robustness, reflecting the effectiveness of our data augmentation method.
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