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Deep-learning algorithms for the interpretation of chest radiographs to aid in the triage of COVID-19 patients: A multicenter retrospective study

Se Bum Jang et al. — PLOS ONE (2020)

The recent medical applications of deep-learning (DL) algorithms have demonstrated their clinical efficacy in improving speed and accuracy of image interpretation. If the DL algorithm achieves a performance equivalent to that achieved by physicians in chest radiography (CR) diagnoses with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia, the automatic interpretation of the CR with DL algorithms can significantly reduce the burden on clinicians and radiologists in sudden surges of suspected COVID-19 patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the DL algorithm for detecting COVID-19 pneumonia on CR compared with formal radiology reports. This is a retrospective study of adult patients that were diagnosed as positive COVID-19 cases based on the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction among all the patients who were admitted to five emergency departments and one community treatment center in Korea from February 18, 2020 to May 1, 2020. The CR images were evaluated with a publicly available DL algorithm. For reference, CR images without chest computed tomography (CT) scans classified as positive for COVID-19 pneumonia were used given that the radiologist identified ground-glass opacity, consolidation, or other infiltration in retrospectively reviewed CR images. Patients with evidence of pneumonia on chest CT scans were also classified as COVID-19 pneumonia positive outcomes. The overall sensitivity and specificity of the DL algorithm for detecting COVID-19 pneumonia on CR were 95.6%, and 88.7%, respectively. The area under the curve value of the DL algorithm for the detection of COVID-19 with pneumonia was 0.921. The DL algorithm demonstrated a satisfactory diagnostic performance comparable with that of formal radiology reports in the CR-based diagnosis of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. The DL algorithm may offer fast and reliable examinations that can facilitate patient screening and isolation decisions, which can reduce the medical staff workload during COVID-19 pandemic situations.

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Se Bum Jang, Suk Hee Lee, Dong Eun Lee, Sin-Youl Park, Jong Kun Kim, Jae Wan Cho, Jaekyung Cho, Ki Beom Kim, Byunggeon Park, Jongmin Park, Jae-Kwang Lim

PLOS ONE (2020)

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