Texture Analysis in the Evaluation of Covid-19 Pneumonia in Chest X-Ray Images: A Proof of Concept Study

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Author(s): Armando Ugo Cavallo*, Jacopo Troisi, Marco Forcina, Pier-Valerio Mari, Valerio Forte, Massimiliano Sperandio, Sergio Pagano, Pierpaolo Cavallo, Roberto Floris, Francesco Garaci

Journal Name: Current Medical Imaging
Formerly: Current Medical Imaging Reviews

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Background: One of the most challenging aspects related to Covid-19 is to establish the presence of infection in early phase of the disease. Texture analysis might be an additional tool for the evaluation of Chest X-ray in patients with clinical suspicion of Covid-19 related pneumonia.

Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of texture analysis and machine learning models for the diagnosis of Covid-19 interstitial pneumonia in Chest X-ray images.

Methods: Chest X-ray images were accessed from a publicly available repository (https://www.kaggle.com/tawsifurrahman/covid19-radiography-database). Lung areas were manually segmented using a polygonal regions of interest covering both lung areas, using MaZda, a freely available software for texture analysis. A total of 308 features per ROI was extracted. One hundred-ten Covid-19 Chest X-ray images were selected for the final analysis.

Results: Six models, namely NB, GLM, DL, GBT, ANN and PLS-DA were selected and ensembled. According to Youden’s index, the Covid-19 Ensemble Machine Learning Score showing the highest Area Under the Curve (0.971±0.015) was 132.57. Assuming this cut-off the Ensemble model performance was estimated evaluating both true and false positive/negative, resulting in 91.8% accuracy with 93% sensitivity and 90% specificity. Moving the cut-off value to -100, although the accuracy resulted lower (90.6%), the Ensemble Machine Learning showed 100% sensitivity, with 80% specificity.

Conclusion: Texture analysis of Chest X-ray images and machine learning algorithms may help in differentiating patients with Covid-19 pneumonia. Despite several limitations, this study can lay ground for future researches in this field and help developing more rapid and accurate screening tools for these patients.

Keywords: X-ray; COVID-19; Pneumonia; Thorax; Interstitial Pneumonia; Radiomics; Texture Analysis.

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(E-pub Ahead of Print)
DOI: 10.2174/1573405617999210112195450

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