MAVIDH Score: A Corona Severity Scoring using Interpretable Chest X-Ray Pathology Features

Douglas P. S. Gomes, Michael J. Horry, Anwaar Ulhaq, Manoranjan Paul, Subrata Chakraborty, Manash Saha, Tanmoy Debnath, D. M. Motiur Rahaman

The application of computer vision for COVID-19 diagnosis is complex and challenging, given the risks associated with patient misclassifications. Arguably, the primary value of medical imaging for COVID-19 lies rather on patient prognosis. Radiological images can guide physicians assessing the severity of the disease, and a series of images from the same patient at different stages can help to gauge disease progression. Based on these premises, a simple method based on lung-pathology features for scoring disease severity from Chest X-rays is proposed here. As the primary contribution, this method shows to be correlated to patient severity in different stages of disease progression comparatively well when contrasted with other existing methods. An original approach for data selection is also proposed, allowing the simple model to learn the severity-related features. It is hypothesized that the resulting competitive performance presented here is related to the method being feature-based rather than reliant on lung involvement or compromise as others in the literature. The fact that it is simpler and interpretable than other end-to-end, more complex models, also sets aside this work. As the data set is small, bias-inducing artifacts that could lead to overfitting are minimized through an image normalization and lung segmentation step at the learning phase. A second contribution comes from the validation of the results, conceptualized as the scoring of patients groups from different stages of the disease. Besides performing such validation on an independent data set, the results were also compared with other proposed scoring methods in the literature. The expressive results show that although imaging alone is not sufficient for assessing severity as a whole, there is a strong correlation with the scoring system, termed as MAVIDH score, with patient outcome.

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