Joint Prediction and Time Estimation of COVID-19 Developing Severe Symptoms using Chest CT Scan

With the rapidly worldwide spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it is of great importance to conduct early diagnosis of COVID-19 and predict the time that patients might convert to the severe stage, for designing effective treatment plan and reducing the clinicians' workloads. In this study, we propose a joint classification and regression method to determine whether the patient would develop severe symptoms in the later time, and if yes, predict the possible conversion time that the patient would spend to convert to the severe stage. To do this, the proposed method takes into account 1) the weight for each sample to reduce the outliers' influence and explore the problem of imbalance classification, and 2) the weight for each feature via a sparsity regularization term to remove the redundant features of high-dimensional data and learn the shared information across the classification task and the regression task. To our knowledge, this study is the first work to predict the disease progression and the conversion time, which could help clinicians to deal with the potential severe cases in time or even save the patients' lives. Experimental analysis was conducted on a real data set from two hospitals with 422 chest computed tomography (CT) scans, where 52 cases were converted to severe on average 5.64 days and 34 cases were severe at admission. Results show that our method achieves the best classification (e.g., 85.91% of accuracy) and regression (e.g., 0.462 of the correlation coefficient) performance, compared to all comparison methods. Moreover, our proposed method yields 76.97% of accuracy for predicting the severe cases, 0.524 of the correlation coefficient, and 0.55 days difference for the converted time.

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