A Conditional Flow Variational Autoencoder for Controllable Synthesis of Virtual Populations of Anatomy

Haoran Dou, Nishant Ravikumar, Alejandro F. Frangi

Research output: Working paperPreprint

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The generation of virtual populations (VPs) of anatomy is essential for conducting in silico trials of medical devices. Typically, the generated VP should capture sufficient variability while remaining plausible and should reflect the specific characteristics and demographics of the patients observed in real populations. In several applications, it is desirable to synthesise virtual populations in a \textit{controlled} manner, where relevant covariates are used to conditionally synthesise virtual populations that fit a specific target population/characteristics. We propose to equip a conditional variational autoencoder (cVAE) with normalising flows to boost the flexibility and complexity of the approximate posterior learnt, leading to enhanced flexibility for controllable synthesis of VPs of anatomical structures. We demonstrate the performance of our conditional flow VAE using a data set of cardiac left ventricles acquired from 2360 patients, with associated demographic information and clinical measurements (used as covariates/conditional information). The results obtained indicate the superiority of the proposed method for conditional synthesis of virtual populations of cardiac left ventricles relative to a cVAE. Conditional synthesis performance was evaluated in terms of generalisation and specificity errors and in terms of the ability to preserve clinically relevant biomarkers in synthesised VPs, that is, the left ventricular blood pool and myocardial volume, relative to the real observed population.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2023


  • eess.IV
  • cs.CV
  • cs.LG


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