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In BMC gastroenterology

BACKGROUND : The gold standard for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is liver biopsy. Various noninvasive modalities, e.g., ultrasonography, elastography and clinical predictive scores, have been used as alternatives to liver biopsy, with limited performance. Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) models have been developed and integrated into noninvasive diagnostic tools to improve their performance.

METHODS : We systematically searched for studies on AI-assisted diagnosis of liver fibrosis and NAFLD on MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV) and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using a random effects model. A summary receiver operating characteristic curve and the area under the curve was generated to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the AI-assisted system. Subgroup analyses by diagnostic modalities, population and AI classifiers were performed.

RESULTS : We included 19 studies reporting the performances of AI-assisted ultrasonography, elastrography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and clinical parameters for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis and steatosis. For the diagnosis of liver fibrosis, the pooled sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV and DOR were 0.78 (0.71-0.85), 0.89 (0.81-0.94), 0.72 (0.58-0.83), 0.92 (0.88-0.94) and 31.58 (11.84-84.25), respectively, for cirrhosis; 0.86 (0.80-0.90), 0.87 (0.80-0.92), 0.85 (0.75-0.91), 0.88 (0.82-0.92) and 37.79 (16.01-89.19), respectively; for advanced fibrosis; and 0.86 (0.78-0.92), 0.81 (0.77-0.84), 0.88 (0.80-0.93), 0.77 (0.58-0.89) and 26.79 (14.47-49.62), respectively, for significant fibrosis. Subgroup analyses showed significant differences in performance for the diagnosis of fibrosis among different modalities. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV and DOR were 0.97 (0.76-1.00), 0.91 (0.78-0.97), 0.95 (0.87-0.98), 0.93 (0.80-0.98) and 191.52 (38.82-944.81), respectively, for the diagnosis of liver steatosis.

CONCLUSIONS : AI-assisted systems have promising potential for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis and NAFLD. Validations of their performances are warranted before implementing these AI-assisted systems in clinical practice.

TRIAL REGISTRATION : The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020183295).

Decharatanachart Pakanat, Chaiteerakij Roongruedee, Tiyarattanachai Thodsawit, Treeprasertsuk Sombat


Artificial intelligence, Cirrhosis, Computer-assisted, Deep learning, Fatty liver, Liver fibrosis, Liver steatosis, Machine learning, NAFLD, Non-invasive diagnostic tests