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In Journal of medical Internet research ; h5-index 88.0

BACKGROUND : Effectively identifying patients with COVID-19 using nonpolymerase chain reaction biomedical data is critical for achieving optimal clinical outcomes. Currently, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding in various biomedical features and appropriate analytical approaches for enabling the early detection and effective diagnosis of patients with COVID-19.

OBJECTIVE : We aimed to combine low-dimensional clinical and lab testing data, as well as high-dimensional computed tomography (CT) imaging data, to accurately differentiate between healthy individuals, patients with COVID-19, and patients with non-COVID viral pneumonia, especially at the early stage of infection.

METHODS : In this study, we recruited 214 patients with nonsevere COVID-19, 148 patients with severe COVID-19, 198 noninfected healthy participants, and 129 patients with non-COVID viral pneumonia. The participants' clinical information (ie, 23 features), lab testing results (ie, 10 features), and CT scans upon admission were acquired and used as 3 input feature modalities. To enable the late fusion of multimodal features, we constructed a deep learning model to extract a 10-feature high-level representation of CT scans. We then developed 3 machine learning models (ie, k-nearest neighbor, random forest, and support vector machine models) based on the combined 43 features from all 3 modalities to differentiate between the following 4 classes: nonsevere, severe, healthy, and viral pneumonia.

RESULTS : Multimodal features provided substantial performance gain from the use of any single feature modality. All 3 machine learning models had high overall prediction accuracy (95.4%-97.7%) and high class-specific prediction accuracy (90.6%-99.9%).

CONCLUSIONS : Compared to the existing binary classification benchmarks that are often focused on single-feature modality, this study's hybrid deep learning-machine learning framework provided a novel and effective breakthrough for clinical applications. Our findings, which come from a relatively large sample size, and analytical workflow will supplement and assist with clinical decision support for current COVID-19 diagnostic methods and other clinical applications with high-dimensional multimodal biomedical features.

Xu Ming, Ouyang Liu, Han Lei, Sun Kai, Yu Tingting, Li Qian, Tian Hua, Safarnejad Lida, Zhang Hengdong, Gao Yue, Bao Forrest Sheng, Chen Yuanfang, Robinson Patrick, Ge Yaorong, Zhu Baoli, Liu Jie, Chen Shi


COVID-19, biomedical imaging, deep learning, diagnosis, diagnosis support, diagnostic, differentiation, feature fusion, imaging, machine learning, multimodal, testing