Development of CAD based on ANN analysis of power spectra for pneumoconiosis in chest radiographs: effect of three new enhancement methods
OBJECTIVE Occupational lung diseases have specific radiographic manifestations not always well known by physicians. In Japan, asbestos-related diseases became a public health concern after the "Kubota Shock", when a number of workers and residents living nearby a manufacturer of asbestos-made ducts developed mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. This preliminary intervention trial evaluated the effect of two-hour training on inexperienced physicians' skill in interpreting pneumoconiotic chest radiographs. METHODS One hundred-two Japanese physicians participated in two reading-tests, using 12 radiographs, before and after the two-hour training with ILO/ICRP and Japan Pneumoconioses Study Group (JPSG) reading materials. Physicians had to check for the presence or absence of small opacity and pleural plaque consistent with pneumoconiosis. Sensitivity and specificity equal or greater than 70% were considered good, 50 to 69% acceptable and less than 50%, poor. RESULTS Post-training improvements in physicians' skills were seen. For small opacity, there was an increase in the proportion of physicians with good specificity, from 42% to 60%. For pleural plaque, the proportion of physicians with good specificity and good sensitivity increased, from 60% to 67% and from 18% to 25%, respectively. Also, significant improvements were observed in overall sensitivity for pleural plaque, from 46% to 60% (p<0.0001), and specificity for small opacity, from 65% to 73% (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS This study showed that two-hour participatory training may enhance physicians' skill in interpreting pneumoconiotic chest radiographs. There are countries without any pneumoconiosis screening program despite the WHO/ILO call for worldwide cooperation in eliminating it. Although the two-hour course cannot replace the five-day ILO workshop, such a program would be useful in areas with environmental or occupational exposure to dust.