In Computers in biology and medicine
BACKGROUND : The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) present a high degree of similarity in chest computed tomography (CT) images. Therefore, a procedure for accurately and automatically distinguishing between them is crucial.
METHODS : A deep learning method for distinguishing COVID-19 from CAP is developed using maximum intensity projection (MIP) images from CT scans. LinkNet is employed for lung segmentation of chest CT images. MIP images are produced by superposing the maximum gray of intrapulmonary CT values. The MIP images are input into a capsule network for patient-level pred iction and diagnosis of COVID-19. The network is trained using 333 CT scans (168 COVID-19/165 CAP) and validated on three external datasets containing 3581 CT scans (2110 COVID-19/1471 CAP).
RESULTS : LinkNet achieves the highest Dice coefficient of 0.983 for lung segmentation. For the classification of COVID-19 and CAP, the capsule network with the DenseNet-121 feature extractor outperforms ResNet-50 and Inception-V3, achieving an accuracy of 0.970 on the training dataset. Without MIP or the capsule network, the accuracy decreases to 0.857 and 0.818, respectively. Accuracy scores of 0.961, 0.997, and 0.949 are achieved on the external validation datasets. The proposed method has higher or comparable sensitivity compared with ten state-of-the-art methods.
CONCLUSIONS : The proposed method illustrates the feasibility of applying MIP images from CT scans to distinguish COVID-19 from CAP using capsule networks. MIP images provide conspicuous benefits when exploiting deep learning to detect COVID-19 lesions from CT scans and the capsule network improves COVID-19 diagnosis.
Wu Yanan, Qi Qianqian, Qi Shouliang, Yang Liming, Wang Hanlin, Yu Hui, Li Jianpeng, Wang Gang, Zhang Ping, Liang Zhenyu, Chen Rongchang
COVID-19, Capsule network, Community-acquired pneumonia, Computed tomography, Maximum intensity projection