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In BMJ innovations

Objectives : There exists a wide gap in the availability of mechanical ventilator devices and their acute need in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. An initial triaging method that accurately identifies the need for mechanical ventilation in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 is needed. We aimed to investigate if a potentially deteriorating clinical course in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 can be detected using all X-ray images taken during hospitalisation.

Methods : We exploited the well-established DenseNet121 deep learning architecture for this purpose on 663 X-ray images acquired from 528 hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Two Pulmonary and Critical Care experts blindly and independently evaluated the same X-ray images for the purpose of validation.

Results : We found that our deep learning model predicted the need for mechanical ventilation with a high accuracy, sensitivity and specificity (90.06%, 86.34% and 84.38%, respectively). This prediction was done approximately 3 days ahead of the actual intubation event. Our model also outperformed two Pulmonary and Critical Care experts who evaluated the same X-ray images and provided an incremental accuracy of 7.24%-13.25%.

Conclusions : Our deep learning model accurately predicted the need for mechanical ventilation early during hospitalisation of patients with COVID-19. Until effective preventive or treatment measures become widely available for patients with COVID-19, prognostic stratification as provided by our model is likely to be highly valuable.

Kulkarni Anoop R, Athavale Ambarish M, Sahni Ashima, Sukhal Shashvat, Saini Abhimanyu, Itteera Mathew, Zhukovsky Sara, Vernik Jane, Abraham Mohan, Joshi Amit, Amarah Amatur, Ruiz Juan, Hart Peter D, Kulkarni Hemant

2021-Apr

COVID-19, critical care, radiology