Exploring the Utility of Self-Supervised Pretraining Strategies for the Detection of Absent Lung Sliding in M-Mode Lung Ultrasound
Self-supervised pretraining has been observed to improve performance in supervised learning tasks in medical imaging. This study investigates the utility of self-supervised pretraining prior to conducting supervised fine-tuning for the downstream task of lung sliding classification in M-mode lung ultrasound images. We propose a novel pairwise relationship that couples M-mode images constructed from the same B-mode image and investigate the utility of data augmentation procedure specific to M-mode lung ultrasound. The results indicate that self-supervised pretraining yields better performance than full supervision, most notably for feature extractors not initialized with ImageNet-pretrained weights. Moreover, we observe that including a vast volume of unlabelled data results in improved performance on external validation datasets, underscoring the value of self-supervision for improving generalizability in automatic ultrasound interpretation. To the authors' best knowledge, this study is the first to characterize the influence of self-supervised pretraining for M-mode ultrasound.