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In Frontiers in medicine

The rapid spread of coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) has manifested a global public health crisis, and chest CT has been proven to be a powerful tool for screening, triage, evaluation and prognosis in COVID-19 patients. However, CT is not only costly but also associated with an increased incidence of cancer, in particular for children. This study will question whether clinical symptoms and laboratory results can predict the CT outcomes for the pediatric patients with positive RT-PCR testing results in order to determine the necessity of CT for such a vulnerable group. Clinical data were collected from 244 consecutive pediatric patients (16 years of age and under) treated at Wuhan Children's Hospital with positive RT-PCR testing, and the chest CT were performed within 3 days of clinical data collection, from January 21 to March 8, 2020. This study was approved by the local ethics committee of Wuhan Children's Hospital. Advanced decision tree based machine learning models were developed for the prediction of CT outcomes. Results have shown that age, lymphocyte, neutrophils, ferritin and C-reactive protein are the most related clinical indicators for predicting CT outcomes for pediatric patients with positive RT-PCR testing. Our decision support system has managed to achieve an AUC of 0.84 with 0.82 accuracy and 0.84 sensitivity for predicting CT outcomes. Our model can effectively predict CT outcomes, and our findings have indicated that the use of CT should be reconsidered for pediatric patients, as it may not be indispensable.

Ma Huijing, Ye Qinghao, Ding Weiping, Jiang Yinghui, Wang Minhao, Niu Zhangming, Zhou Xi, Gao Yuan, Wang Chengjia, Menpes-Smith Wade, Fang Evandro Fei, Shao Jianbo, Xia Jun, Yang Guang


COVID-19, RT-PCR—polymerase chain reaction with reverse transcription, artificial intelligence, decision trees, machine learning, pediatric