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Smartphone-based artificial intelligence using a transfer learning algorithm for the detection and diagnosis of middle ear diseases: A retrospective deep learning study

HumanInsight Smartphone-based artificial intelligence using a transfer learning algorithm for the detection and diagnosis of middle ear diseases: A retrospective deep learning study

EClinicalMedicine. 2022 Jul 12;51:101543. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101543. eCollection 2022 Sep.


BACKGROUND: Middle ear diseases such as otitis media and middle ear effusion, for which diagnoses are often delayed or misdiagnosed, are among the most common issues faced by clinicians providing primary care for children and adolescents. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to assist clinicians in the detection and diagnosis of middle ear diseases through imaging.

METHODS: Otoendoscopic images obtained by otolaryngologists from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan between Jany 1, 2011 to Dec 31, 2019 were collected retrospectively and de-identified. The images were entered into convolutional neural network (CNN) training models after data pre-processing, augmentation and splitting. To differentiate sophisticated middle ear diseases, nine CNN-based models were constructed to recognize middle ear diseases. The best-performing models were chosen and ensembled in a small CNN for mobile device use. The pretrained model was converted into the smartphone-based program, and the utility was evaluated in terms of detecting and classifying ten middle ear diseases based on otoendoscopic images. A class activation map (CAM) was also used to identify key features for CNN classification. The performance of each classifier was determined by its accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score.

FINDINGS: A total of 2820 clinical eardrum images were collected for model training. The programme achieved a high detection accuracy for binary outcomes (pass/refer) of otoendoscopic images and ten different disease categories, with an accuracy reaching 98.0% after model optimisation. Furthermore, the application presented a smooth recognition process and a user-friendly interface and demonstrated excellent performance, with an accuracy of 97.6%. A fifty-question questionnaire related to middle ear diseases was designed for practitioners with different levels of clinical experience. The AI-empowered mobile algorithm's detection accuracy was generally superior to that of general physicians, resident doctors, and otolaryngology specialists (36.0%, 80.0% and 90.0%, respectively). Our results show that the proposed method provides sufficient treatment recommendations that are comparable to those of specialists.

INTERPRETATION: We developed a deep learning model that can detect and classify middle ear diseases. The use of smartphone-based point-of-care diagnostic devices with AI-empowered automated classification can provide real-world smart medical solutions for the diagnosis of middle ear diseases and telemedicine.

FUNDING: This study was supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST110-2622-8-075-001, MOST110-2320-B-075-004-MY3, MOST-110-2634-F-A49 -005, MOST110-2745-B-075A-001A and MOST110-2221-E-075-005), Veterans General Hospitals and University System of Taiwan Joint Research Program (VGHUST111-G6-11-2, VGHUST111c-140), and Taipei Veterans General Hospital (V111E-002-3).

PMID:35856040 | PMC:PMC9287624 | DOI:10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101543

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