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In IEEE access : practical innovations, open solutions

The recent human coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Given the effects of COVID-19 in pulmonary tissues, chest radiography imaging plays an important role in the screening, early detection, and monitoring of the suspected individuals. Hence, as the pandemic of COVID-19 progresses, there will be a greater reliance on the use of portable equipment for the acquisition of chest X-ray images due to its accessibility, widespread availability, and benefits regarding to infection control issues, minimizing the risk of cross-contamination. This work presents novel fully automatic approaches specifically tailored for the classification of chest X-ray images acquired by portable equipment into 3 different clinical categories: normal, pathological, and COVID-19. For this purpose, 3 complementary deep learning approaches based on a densely convolutional network architecture are herein presented. The joint response of all the approaches allows to enhance the differentiation between patients infected with COVID-19, patients with other diseases that manifest characteristics similar to COVID-19 and normal cases. The proposed approaches were validated over a dataset specifically retrieved for this research. Despite the poor quality of the chest X-ray images that is inherent to the nature of the portable equipment, the proposed approaches provided global accuracy values of 79.62%, 90.27% and 79.86%, respectively, allowing a reliable analysis of portable radiographs to facilitate the clinical decision-making process.

De Moura Joaquim, Garcia Lucia Ramos, Vidal Placido Francisco Lizancos, Cruz Milena, Lopez Laura Abelairas, Lopez Eva Castro, Novo Jorge, Ortega Marcos


COVID-19, Chest X-ray imaging, X-ray portable device, deep learning