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Automated detection of pneumonia cases using deep transfer learning with paediatric chest X-ray images.

OBJECTIVE: Pneumonia is a lung infection and causes the inflammation of the small air sacs (Alveoli) in one or both lungs. Proper and faster diagnosis of pneumonia at an early stage is imperative for optimal patient care. Currently, chest X-ray is considered as the best imaging modality for diagnosing pneumonia. However, the interpretation of chest X-ray images is challenging. To this end, we aimed to use an automated convolutional neural network-based transfer-learning approach to detect pneumonia in paediatric chest radiographs.

METHODS: Herein, an automated convolutional neural network-based transfer-learning approach using four different pre-trained models ( i.e. VGG19, DenseNet121, Xception, and ResNet50) was applied to detect pneumonia in children (1-5 years) chest X-ray images. The performance of different proposed models for testing data set was evaluated using five performances metrics, including accuracy, sensitivity/recall, Precision, area under curve, and F1 score.

RESULTS: All proposed models provide accuracy greater than 83.0% for binary classification. The pre-trained DenseNet121 model provides the highest classification performance of automated pneumonia classification with 86.8% accuracy, followed by Xception model with an accuracy of 86.0%. The sensitivity of the proposed models was greater than 91.0%. The Xception and DenseNet121 models achieve the highest classification performance with F1-score greater than 89.0%. The plotted area under curve of receiver operating characteristics of VGG19, Xception, ResNet50, and DenseNet121 models are 0.78, 0.81, 0.81, and 0.86, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Our data showed that the proposed models achieve a high accuracy for binary classification. Transfer learning was used to accelerate training of the proposed models and resolve the problem associated with insufficient data. We hope that these proposed models can help radiologists for a quick diagnosis of pneumonia at radiology departments. Moreover, our proposed models may be useful to detect other chest-related diseases such as novel Coronavirus 2019.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Herein, we used transfer learning as a machine learning approach to accelerate training of the proposed models and resolve the problem associated with insufficient data. Our proposed models achieved accuracy greater than 83.0% for binary classification.

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