Facilitating surveillance of pulmonary invasive mold diseases in patients with haematological malignancies by screening computed tomography reports using natural language processing

Michelle R Ananda-Rajah, David Martinez, Monica Anne Slavin, Lawrence Cavedon, Michael Joseph Dooley, Allen Cheuk-Seng Cheng, Karin A Thursky

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Prospective surveillance of invasive mold diseases (IMDs) in haematology patients should be standard of care but is hampered by the absence of a reliable laboratory prompt and the difficulty of manual surveillance. We used a high throughput technology, natural language processing (NLP), to develop a classifier based on machine learning techniques to screen computed tomography (CT) reports supportive for IMDs. Patients and Methods: We conducted a retrospective case-control study of CT reports from the clinical encounter and up to 12-weeks after, from a random subset of 79 of 270 case patients with 33 probable/proven IMDs by international definitions, and 68 of 257 uninfected-control patients identified from 3 tertiary haematology centres. The classifier was trained and tested on a reference standard of 449 physician annotated reports including a development subset (n = 366), from a total of 1880 reports, using 10-fold cross validation, comparing binary and probabilistic predictions to the reference standard to generate sensitivity, specificity and area under the receiver-operating-curve (ROC). Results: For the development subset, sensitivity/specificity was 91 (95 CI 86 to 94 )/79 (95 CI 71 to 84 ) and ROC area was 0.92 (95 CI 89 to 94 ). Of 25 (5.6 ) missed notifications, only 4 (0.9 ) reports were regarded as clinically significant. Conclusion: CT reports are a readily available and timely resource that may be exploited by NLP to facilitate continuous prospective IMD surveillance with translational benefits beyond surveillance alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere107797
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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