Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are widely studied for evaluating diseases. This paper discusses the intelligence mode of an ANN in grading the diagnosis of liver fibrosis by duplex ultrasonogaphy.
239 patients who were confirmed as having liver fibrosis or cirrhosis by ultrasound guided liver biopsy were investigated in this study. We quantified ultrasonographic parameters as significant parameters using a data optimization procedure applied to an ANN. 179 patients were typed at random as the training group; 60 additional patients were consequently enrolled as the validating group. Performance of the ANN was evaluated according to accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, Youden’s index and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
5 ultrasonographic parameters; i.e., the liver parenchyma, thickness of spleen, hepatic vein (HV) waveform, hepatic artery pulsatile index (HAPI) and HV damping index (HVDI), were enrolled as the input neurons in the ANN model. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the ANN model for quantitative diagnosis of liver fibrosis were 95.0%, 85.0% and 88.3%, respectively. The Youden’s index (YI) was 0.80.
The established ANN model had good sensitivity and specificity in quantitative diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis or liver cirrhosis. Our study suggests that the ANN model based on duplex ultrasound may help non-invasive grading diagnosis of liver fibrosis in clinical practice.