Diagnosing community-acquired pneumonia via a smartphone-based algorithm: a prospective cohort study in primary and acute-care consultations

Link to article at PubMed

Br J Gen Pract. 2020 Dec 14:BJGP.2020.0750. doi: 10.3399/BJGP.2020.0750. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an essential consideration in patients presenting to primary care with respiratory symptoms; however, accurate diagnosis is difficult when clinical and radiological examinations are not possible, such as during telehealth consultations.

AIM: To develop and test a smartphone-based algorithm for diagnosing CAP without need for clinical examination or radiological inputs.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A prospective cohort study using data from participants aged >12 years presenting with acute respiratory symptoms to a hospital in Western Australia.

METHOD: Five cough audio-segments were recorded and four patient-reported symptoms (fever, acute cough, productive cough, and age) were analysed by the smartphone-based algorithm to generate an immediate diagnostic output for CAP. Independent cohorts were recruited to train and test the accuracy of the algorithm. Diagnostic agreement was calculated against the confirmed discharge diagnosis of CAP by specialist physicians. Specialist radiologists reported medical imaging.

RESULTS: The smartphone-based algorithm had high percentage agreement (PA) with the clinical diagnosis of CAP in the total cohort (n = 322, positive PA [PPA] = 86.2%, negative PA [NPA] = 86.5%, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 0.95); in participants 22-<65 years (n = 192, PPA = 85.7%, NPA = 87.0%, AUC = 0.94), and in participants aged ≥65 years (n = 86, PPA = 85.7%, NPA = 87.5%, AUC = 0.94). Agreement was preserved across CAP severity: 85.1% (n = 80/94) of participants with CRB-65 scores 1 or 2, and 87.7% (n = 57/65) with a score of 0, were correctly diagnosed by the algorithm.

CONCLUSION: The algorithm provides rapid and accurate diagnosis of CAP. It offers improved accuracy over current protocols when clinical evaluation is difficult. It provides increased capabilities for primary and acute care, including telehealth services, required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:33558330 | DOI:10.3399/BJGP.2020.0750

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