Automated recognition of lung diseases in CT images based on the optimum-path forest classifier
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The World Health Organization estimated that around 300 million people have asthma, and 210 million people are affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Also, it is estimated that the number of deaths from COPD increased 30% in 2015 and COPD will become the third major cause of death worldwide by 2030. These statistics about lung diseases get worse when one considers fibrosis, calcifications and other diseases. For the public health system, the early and accurate diagnosis of any pulmonary disease is mandatory for effective treatments and prevention of further deaths. In this sense, this work consists in using information from lung images to identify and classify lung diseases. Two steps are required to achieve these goals: automatically extraction of representative image features of the lungs and recognition of the possible disease using a computational classifier. As to the first step, this work proposes an approach that combines Spatial Interdependence Matrix (SIM) and Visual Information Fidelity (VIF). Concerning the second step, we propose to employ a Gaussian-based distance to be used together with the optimum-path forest (OPF) classifier to classify the lungs under study as normal or with fibrosis, or even affected by COPD. Moreover, to confirm the robustness of OPF in this classification problem, we also considered Support Vector Machines and a Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network for comparison purposes. Overall, the results confirmed the good performance of the OPF configured with the Gaussian distance when applied to SIM- and VIF-based features. The performance scores achieved by the OPF classifier were as follows: average accuracy of 98.2%, total processing time of 117 microseconds in a common personal laptop, and F-score of 95.2% for the three classification classes. These results showed that OPF is a very competitive classifier, and suitable to be used for lung disease classification.