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Clinical Investigations: TUBERCULOSIS |

Predicting Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis Using an Artificial Neural Network*

Ali A. El-Solh, MD; Chiu-Bin Hsiao, MD; Susan Goodnough, RN; Joseph Serghani, MD; Brydon J. B. Grant, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Medicine (Drs. El-Solh and Grant), Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, the Division of Infectious Disease (Dr. Hsiao and Ms. Goodnough), and the Department of Radiology (Dr. Serghani), Erie County Medical Center, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, NY.

Correspondence to: Ali El-Solh, MD, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Erie County Medical Center, 462 Grider St, Buffalo, NY 14215; e-mail: solh@buffalo.edu



Chest. 1999;116(4):968-973. doi:10.1378/chest.116.4.968
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Background: Nosocomial outbreaks of tuberculosis (TB) have been attributed to unrecognized pulmonary TB. Accurate assessment in identifying index cases of active TB is essential in preventing transmission of the disease.

Objectives: To develop an artificial neural network using clinical and radiographic information to predict active pulmonary TB at the time of presentation at a health-care facility that is superior to physicians’ opinion.

Design: Nonconcurrent prospective study.

Setting: University-affiliated hospital.

Participants: A derivation group of 563 isolation episodes and a validation group of 119 isolation episodes.

Interventions: A general regression neural network (GRNN) was used to develop the predictive model.

Measurements: Predictive accuracy of the neural network compared with clinicians’ assessment.

Results: Predictive accuracy was assessed by the c-index, which is equivalent to the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. The GRNN significantly outperformed the physicians’ prediction, with calculated c-indices (± SEM) of 0.947 ± 0.028 and 0.61 ± 0.045, respectively (p < 0.001). When the GRNN was applied to the validation group, the corresponding c-indices were 0.923 ± 0.056 and 0.716 ± 0.095, respectively.

Conclusion: An artificial neural network can identify patients with active pulmonary TB more accurately than physicians’ clinical assessment.

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