A fully automatic artificial intelligence-based CT image analysis system for accurate detection, diagnosis, and quantitative severity evaluation of pulmonary tuberculosis

C.G. Yan, L.F. Wang, J. Lin, J. Xu*, T.J. Zhang, J. Qi, X.Y. Li, W. Ni, G.Y. Wu, J.B. Huang, Y.K. Xu*, H.C. Woodruff, P. Lambin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives An accurate and rapid diagnosis is crucial for the appropriate treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). This study aims to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based fully automated CT image analysis system for detection, diagnosis, and burden quantification of pulmonary TB. Methods From December 2007 to September 2020, 892 chest CT scans from pathogen-confirmed TB patients were retrospectively included. A deep learning-based cascading framework was connected to create a processing pipeline. For training and validation of the model, 1921 lesions were manually labeled, classified according to six categories of critical imaging features, and visually scored regarding lesion involvement as the ground truth. A "TB score" was calculated based on a network-activation map to quantitively assess the disease burden. Independent testing datasets from two additional hospitals (dataset 2, n = 99; dataset 3, n = 86) and the NIH TB Portals (n = 171) were used to externally validate the performance of the AI model. Results CT scans of 526 participants (mean age, 48.5 +/- 16.5 years; 206 women) were analyzed. The lung lesion detection subsystem yielded a mean average precision of the validation cohort of 0.68. The overall classification accuracy of six pulmonary critical imaging findings indicative of TB of the independent datasets was 81.08-91.05%. A moderate to strong correlation was demonstrated between the AI model-quantified TB score and the radiologist-estimated CT score. Conclusions The proposed end-to-end AI system based on chest CT can achieve human-level diagnostic performance for early detection and optimal clinical management of patients with pulmonary TB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2188-2199
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Deep learning
  • Computed tomography
  • Thorax

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