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In Journal of X-ray science and technology

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major health issue with high mortality rates worldwide. Recently, tremendous researches of artificial intelligence (AI) have been conducted targeting at TB to reduce the diagnostic burden. However, most researches are conducted in the developed urban areas. The feasibility of applying AI in low-resource settings remains unexplored. In this study, we apply an automated detection (AI) system to screen a large population in an underdeveloped area and evaluate feasibility and contribution of apply AI to help local radiologists detect and diagnose TB using chest X-ray (CXR) images. First, we divide image data into one training dataset including 2627 TB-positive cases and 7375 TB-negative cases and one testing dataset containing 276 TB-positive cases and 619 TB-negative cases, respectively. Next, in building AI system, the experiment includes image labeling and preprocessing, model training and testing. A segmentation model named TB-UNet is also built to detect diseased regions, which uses ResNeXt as the encoder of U-Net. We use AI-generated confidence score to predict the likelihood of each testing case being TB-positive. Then, we conduct two experiments to compare results between the AI system and radiologists with and without AI assistance. Study results show that AI system yields TB detection accuracy of 85%, which is much higher than detection accuracy of radiologists (62%) without AI assistance. In addition, with AI assistance, the TB diagnostic sensitivity of local radiologists is improved by 11.8%. Therefore, this study demonstrates that AI has great potential to help detection, prevention, and control of TB in low-resource settings, particularly in areas with scant doctors and higher rates of the infected population.

Nijiati Mayidili, Zhang Ziqi, Abulizi Abudoukeyoumujiang, Miao Hengyuan, Tuluhong Aikebaierjiang, Quan Shenwen, Guo Lin, Xu Tao, Zou Xiaoguang


Artificial intelligence (AI), assistance, chest X-rays (CXRs), convolutional neural network, low-resource settings, radiologists, tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis