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High-Throughput Digitization of Analog Human Echocardiography Data

By Alan Chin Kwan, Gerran Salto, Emmanuella Demosthenes, Birgitta T Lehman, Ewa Osypiuk, Plamen Stantchev, Ramachandran S Vasan, Susan Cheng

Posted 12 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.07.20123521

Echocardiographic imaging data has been acquired for adult participants of a longitudinal community-based epidemiological cohort study at serial examinations between 1987 and 1998. The original image acquisition approach was analog with storage of moving images on Video Home System (VHS) tapes. Accordingly, we designed and implemented a standardized methodology for digitizing, anonymizing, and organizing these analog data to enable contemporary image-based analyses. Herein, we describe the overall methodology and the operational workflow, quality control, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, and data formatting issues that we addressed. We present this method as an accessible pipeline for enabling digitization of historical imaging data, originally acquired from large cohort studies, in order to preserve and repurpose them for application of advanced and continually evolving image analytical techniques. Such pipelines are critical not only for data conservation but are also invaluable for prospective analyses of imaging phenotypes in relation to already-accrued longitudinal outcomes in community-based cohorts that have been under careful surveillance over up to several decades of follow up.

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