Limited data was available for rapid and accurate detection of COVID-19 using CT-based machine learning model. This study aimed to investigate the value of chest CT radiomics for diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia compared with clinical model and COVID-19 reporting and data system (CO-RADS), and develop an open-source diagnostic tool with the constructed radiomics model.
This study enrolled 115 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and 435 non-COVID-19 pneunomia patients (training dataset, n = 379; validation dataset, n = 131; testing dataset, n = 40). Key radiomics features extracted from chest CT images were selected to build a radiomics signature using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression. Clinical and clinico-radiomics combined models were constructed. The combined model was further validated in the viral pneumonia cohort, and compared with performance of two radiologists with CO-RADS. The diagnostic performance was assessed by receiver operating characteristics curve (ROC) analysis, calibration curve, and decision curve analysis (DCA).
Eight radiomics features and 5 clinical variables were selected to construct the combined radiomics model, which outperformed the clinical model in diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia with an area under the ROC (AUC) of 0.98 and good calibration in the validation cohort. The combined model also performed better in distinguishing COVID-19 from other viral pneumonia with an AUC of 0.93 compared with 0.75 (P = 0.03) for clinical model, and 0.69 (P = 0.008) or 0.82 (P = 0.15) for two trained radiologists using CO-RADS. The sensitivity and specificity of the combined model can be achieved to 0.85 and 0.90. The DCA confirmed the clinical utility of the combined model. An easy-to-use open-source diagnostic tool was developed using the combined model.
The combined radiomics model outperformed clinical model and CO-RADS for diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia, which can facilitate more rapid and accurate detection.