Patient Reidentification from Chest Radiographs: AInterpretable Deep Metric Learning Approach and Its Applications

Matthew MacPherson, Charles Hutchinson, Carolyn Horst, Vicky Goh, Giovanni Montana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: To train an explainable deep learning model for patient reidentification in chest radiograph datasets and assess changes in model-perceived patient identity as a marker for emerging radiologic abnormalities in longitudinal image sets. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study used a set of 1 094 537 frontal chest radiographs and free-text reports from 259 152 patients obtained from six hospitals between 2006 and 2019, with validation on the public ChestX-ray14, CheXpert, and MIMIC-CXR datasets. A deep learning model was trained for patient reidentification and assessed on patient identity confirmation, retrieval of patient images from a database based on a query image, and radiologic abnormality prediction in longitudinal image sets. The representa-tion learned was incorporated into a generative adversarial network, allowing visual explanations of the relevant features. Performance was evaluated with sensitivity, specificity, F1 score, Precision at 1, R-Precision, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) for normal and abnormal prediction. Results: Patient reidentification was achieved with a mean F1 score of 0.996 ± 0.001 (2 SD) on the internal test set (26 152 patients) and F1 scores of 0.947–0.993 on the external test data. Database retrieval yielded a mean Precision at 1 score of 0.976 ± 0.005 at 299 × 299 resolution on the internal test set and Precision at 1 scores between 0.868 and 0.950 on the external datasets. Patient sex, age, weight, and other factors were identified as key model features. The model achieved an AUC of 0.73 ± 0.01 for abnormality prediction versus an AUC of 0.58 ± 0.01 for age prediction error. Conclusion: The image features used by a deep learning patient reidentification model for chest radiographs corresponded to intui-tive human-interpretable characteristics, and changes in these identifying features over time may act as markers for an emerging abnormality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere230019
JournalRadiology: Artificial intelligence
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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