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Automated assessment of COVID-19 pulmonary disease severity on chest radiographs using convolutional Siamese neural networks

By Matthew D Li, Nishanth Thumbavanam Arun, Mishka Gidwani, Ken Chang, Francis Deng, Brent P. Little, Dexter P Mendoza, Min Lang, Susanna I Lee, Aileen O'Shea, Anushri Parakh, Praveer Singh, Jayashree Kalpathy-Cramer

Posted 26 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.20.20108159

Purpose To develop an automated measure of COVID-19 pulmonary disease severity on chest radiographs (CXRs), for longitudinal disease evaluation and clinical risk stratification. Materials and Methods A convolutional Siamese neural network-based algorithm was trained to output a measure of pulmonary disease severity on anterior-posterior CXRs (pulmonary x-ray severity (PXS) score), using weakly-supervised pretraining on ~160,000 images from CheXpert and transfer learning on 314 CXRs from patients with COVID-19. The algorithm was evaluated on internal and external test sets from different hospitals, containing 154 and 113 CXRs respectively. The PXS score was correlated with a radiographic severity score independently assigned by two thoracic radiologists and one in-training radiologist. For 92 internal test set patients with follow-up CXRs, the change in PXS score was compared to radiologist assessments of change. The association between PXS score and subsequent intubation or death was assessed. Results The PXS score correlated with the radiographic pulmonary disease severity score assigned to CXRs in the COVID-19 internal and external test sets ({rho}=0.84 and {rho}=0.78 respectively). The direction of change in PXS score in follow-up CXRs agreed with radiologist assessment ({rho}=0.74). In patients not intubated on the admission CXR, the PXS score predicted subsequent intubation or death within three days of hospital admission (area under the receiver operator characteristic curve=0.80 (95%CI 0.75-0.85)). Conclusion A Siamese neural network-based severity score automatically measures COVID-19 pulmonary disease severity in chest radiographs, which can be scaled and rapidly deployed for clinical triage and workflow optimization.

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