Can artificial intelligence (AI) be used to accurately detect tuberculosis (TB) from chest x-ray? A multiplatform evaluation of five AI products used for TB screening in a high TB-burden setting.

  • 06 June 2020

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), particularly deep neural networks, computer aided detection (CAD) tools can be trained to recognize TB-related abnormalities on chest radiographs, thereby screening large numbers of people and reducing the pressure on healthcare professionals. Addressing the lack of studies comparing the performance of different products, we evaluated five AI software platforms specific to TB: CAD4TB (v6), InferReadDR (v2), Lunit INSIGHT for Chest Radiography (v4.9.0) , JF CXR-1 (v2) by and qXR (v3) by on an unseen dataset of chest X-rays collected in three TB screening center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The 23,566 individuals included in the study all received a CXR read by a group of three Bangladeshi board-certified radiologists. A sample of CXRs were re-read by US board-certified radiologists. Xpert was used as the reference standard. All five AI platforms significantly outperformed the human readers. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves are qXR: 0.91 (95% CI:0.90-0.91), Lunit INSIGHT CXR: 0.89 (95% CI:0.88-0.89), InferReadDR: 0.85 (95% CI:0.84-0.86), JF CXR-1: 0.85 (95% CI:0.84-0.85), CAD4TB: 0.82 (95% CI:0.81-0.83). We also proposed a new analytical framework that evaluates a screening and triage test and informs threshold selection through tradeoff between cost efficiency and ability to triage. Further, we assessed the performance of the five AI algorithms across the subgroups of age, use cases, and prior TB history, and found that the threshold scores performed differently across different subgroups. The positive results of our evaluation indicate that these AI products can be useful screening and triage tools for active case finding in high TB-burden regions.

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