Recent epidemiological data report that worldwide more than 53 million people have been infected by SARS-CoV-2, resulting in 1.3 million deaths. The disease has been spreading very rapidly and few months after the identification of the first infected, shortage of hospital resources quickly became a problem. In this work we investigate whether chest X-ray (CXR) can be used as a possible tool for the early identification of patients at risk of severe outcome, like intensive care or death. CXR is a radiological technique that compared to computed tomography (CT) it is simpler, faster, more widespread and it induces lower radiation dose. We present a dataset including data collected from 820 patients by six Italian hospitals in spring 2020 during the first COVID-19 emergency. The dataset includes CXR images, several clinical attributes and clinical outcomes. We investigate the potential of artificial intelligence to predict the prognosis of such patients, distinguishing between severe and mild cases, thus offering a baseline reference for other researchers and practitioners. To this goal, we present three approaches that use features extracted from CXR images, either handcrafted or automatically by convolutional neuronal networks, which are then integrated with the clinical data. Exhaustive evaluation shows promising performance both in 10-fold and leave-one-centre-out cross-validation, implying that clinical data and images have the potential to provide useful information for the management of patients and hospital resources.
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has led to urgent needs for reliable diagnosis and management of SARS-CoV-2 infection. As a complimentary tool, chest CT has been shown to be able to reveal visual patterns characteristic for COVID-19, which has definite value at several stages during the disease course. To facilitate CT analysis, recent efforts have focused on computer-aided characterization and diagnosis, which has shown promising results. However, domain shift of data across clinical data centers poses a serious challenge when deploying learning-based models. In this work, we attempt to find a solution for this challenge via federated and semi-supervised learning. A multi-national database consisting of 1704 scans from three countries is adopted to study the performance gap, when training a model with one dataset and applying it to another. Expert radiologists manually delineated 945 scans for COVID-19 findings. In handling the variability in both the data and annotations, a novel federated semi-supervised learning technique is proposed to fully utilize all available data (with or without annotations). Federated learning avoids the need for sensitive data-sharing, which makes it favorable for institutions and nations with strict regulatory policy on data privacy. Moreover, semi-supervision potentially reduces the annotation burden under a distributed setting. The proposed framework is shown to be effective compared to fully supervised scenarios with conventional data sharing instead of model weight sharing.