PLoS One. 2021 Mar 10;16(3):e0246582. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246582. eCollection 2021.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the discrimination of parenchymal lesions between COVID-19 and other atypical pneumonia (AP) by using only radiomics features.
METHODS: In this retrospective study, 301 pneumonic lesions (150 ground-glass opacity [GGO], 52 crazy paving [CP], 99 consolidation) obtained from nonenhanced thorax CT scans of 74 AP (46 male and 28 female; 48.25±13.67 years) and 60 COVID-19 (39 male and 21 female; 48.01±20.38 years) patients were segmented manually by two independent radiologists, and Location, Size, Shape, and First- and Second-order radiomics features were calculated.
RESULTS: Multiple parameters showed significant differences between AP and COVID-19-related GGOs and consolidations, although only the Range parameter was significantly different for CPs. Models developed by using the Bayesian information criterion (BIC) for the whole group of GGO and consolidation lesions predicted COVID-19 consolidation and AP GGO lesions with low accuracy (46.1% and 60.8%, respectively). Thus, instead of subjective classification, lesions were reclassified according to their skewness into positive skewness group (PSG, 78 AP and 71 COVID-19 lesions) and negative skewness group (NSG, 56 AP and 44 COVID-19 lesions), and group-specific models were created. The best AUC, accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were respectively 0.774, 75.8%, 74.6%, and 76.9% among the PSG models and 0.907, 83%, 79.5%, and 85.7% for the NSG models. The best PSG model was also better at predicting NSG lesions smaller than 3 mL. Using an algorithm, 80% of COVID-19 and 81.1% of AP patients were correctly predicted.
CONCLUSION: During periods of increasing AP, radiomics parameters may provide valuable data for the differential diagnosis of COVID-19.