Automatic Detection of Tuberculosis in Chest Radiographs Using a Combination of Textural, Focal, and Shape Abnormality Analysis

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2015 Dec;34(12):2429-42. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2015.2405761. Epub 2015 Feb 19.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a common disease with high mortality and morbidity rates worldwide. Automatic systems to detect TB on chest radiographs (CXRs) can improve the efficiency of diagnostic algorithms for pulmonary TB. The diverse manifestation of TB on CXRs from different populations requires a system that can be adapted to deal with different types of abnormalities. A computer aided detection (CAD) system was developed which combines several subscores of supervised subsystems detecting textural, shape, and focal abnormalities into one TB score. A general framework was developed to combine an arbitrary number of subscores: subscores were normalized, collected in a feature vector and then combined using a supervised classifier into one combined score. The method was evaluated on two databases, both consisting of 200 digital CXRs, from: (A) Western high-risk group screening, (B) TB suspect screening in Africa. The subscores and combined score were compared to (1) an external, non-radiological, reference and (2) a radiological reference determined by a human expert. Performance was measured using Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) analysis. Different subscores performed best in the two databases. The combined TB score performed better than the individual subscores, except for the external reference in database B. The performances of the independent observer were slightly higher than the combined TB score. Compared to the external reference, differences in performance between the combined TB score and the independent observer were not significant in both databases. Supervised combination to compute an overall TB score allows for a necessary adaptation of the CAD system to different settings or different operational requirements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Humans
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated / methods*
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*