An Approach to Early Diagnosis of Pneumonia on Individual Radiographs based on the CNN Information Technology

The Open Bioinformatics Journal 19 Nov 2021 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1875036202114010093



This study investigates the topology of convolutional neural networks and proposes an information technology for the early detection of pneumonia in X-rays.


For the past decade, pneumonia has been one of the most widespread respiratory diseases. Every year, a significant part of the world's population suffers from pneumonia, which leads to millions of deaths worldwide. Inflammation occurs rapidly and usually proceeds in severe forms. Thus, early detection of the disease plays a critical role in its successful treatment.


The most operating means of diagnosing pneumonia is the chest X-ray, which produces radiographs. Automated diagnostics using computing devices and computer vision techniques have become beneficial in X-ray image analysis, serving as an ancillary decision-making system. Nonetheless, such systems require continuous improvement for individual patient adjustment to ensure a successful, timely diagnosis.


Nowadays, artificial neural networks serve as a promising solution for identifying pneumonia in radiographs. Despite the high level of recognition accuracy, neural networks have been perceived as black boxes because of the unclear interpretation of their performance results. Altogether, an insufficient explanation for the early diagnosis can be perceived as a severe negative feature of automated decision-making systems, as the lack of interpretation results may negatively affect the final clinical decision. To address this issue, we propose an approach to the automated diagnosis of early pneumonia, based on the classification of radiographs with weakly expressed disease features.


An effective spatial convolution operation with several dilated rates, combining various receptive feature fields, was used in convolutional layers to detect and analyze visual deviations in the X-ray image. Due to applying the dilated convolution operation, the network avoids significant losses of objects' spatial information providing relatively low computational costs. We also used transfer training to overcome the lack of data in the early diagnosis of pneumonia. An image analysis strategy based on class activation maps was used to interpret the classification results, critical for clinical decision making.


According to the computational results, the proposed convolutional architecture may be an excellent solution for instant diagnosis in case of the first suspicion of early pneumonia.

Keywords: Information technology, Pneumonia, Early diagnosis, Individual approach, Convolutional neural network, Feature extraction, Visual analysis, Chest X-ray.
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