Predicting COVID-19 Pneumonia Severity on Chest X-ray with Deep Learning

by   Joseph Paul Cohen, et al.

The need to streamline patient management for COVID-19 has become more pressing than ever. Chest X-rays provide a non-invasive (potentially bedside) tool to monitor the progression of the disease. In this study, we present a severity score prediction model for COVID-19 pneumonia for frontal chest X-ray images. Such a tool can gauge severity of COVID-19 lung infections (and pneumonia in general) that can be used for escalation or de-escalation of care as well as monitoring treatment efficacy, especially in the ICU. Images from a public COVID-19 database were scored retrospectively by three blinded experts in terms of the extent of lung involvement as well as the degree of opacity. A neural network model that was pre-trained on large (non-COVID-19) chest X-ray datasets is used to construct features for COVID-19 images which are predictive for our task. This study finds that training a regression model on a subset of the outputs from an this pre-trained chest X-ray model predicts our geographic extent score (range 0-8) with 1.14 mean absolute error (MAE) and our lung opacity score (range 0-6) with 0.78 MAE. All code, labels, and data are made available at and


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