Background and Purpose- We aimed to investigate the ability of machine learning (ML) techniques analyzing diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) magnetic resonance imaging to identify patients within the recommended time window for thrombolysis. Methods- We analyzed DWI and FLAIR images of consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke within 24 hours of clear symptom onset by applying automatic image processing approaches. These processes included infarct segmentation, DWI, and FLAIR imaging registration and image feature extraction. A total of 89 vector features from each image sequence were captured and used in the ML. Three ML models were developed to estimate stroke onset time for binary classification (≤4.5 hours): logistic regression, support vector machine, and random forest. To evaluate the performance of ML models, the sensitivity and specificity for identifying patients within 4.5 hours were compared with the sensitivity and specificity of human readings of DWI-FLAIR mismatch. Results- Data from a total of 355 patients were analyzed. DWI-FLAIR mismatch from human readings identified patients within 4.5 hours of symptom onset with 48.5% sensitivity and 91.3% specificity. ML algorithms had significantly greater sensitivities than human readers (75.8% for logistic regression, P=0.020; 72.7% for support vector machine, P=0.033; 75.8% for random forest, P=0.013) in detecting patients within 4.5 hours, but their specificities were comparable (82.6% for logistic regression, P=0.157; 82.6% for support vector machine, P=0.157; 82.6% for random forest, P=0.157). Conclusions- ML algorithms using multiple magnetic resonance imaging features were feasible even more sensitive than human readings in identifying patients with stroke within the time window for acute thrombolysis.
Keywords: artificial intelligence; humans; machine learning; magnetic resonance imaging; stroke.