Purpose: Using CT findings from a prospective, randomized, open-label multicenter trial of favipiravir treatment of COVID-19 patients, the purpose of this study was to compare the utility of machine learning (ML)-based algorithm with that of CT-determined disease severity score and time from disease onset to CT (i.e., time until CT) in this setting. Materials and methods: From March to May 2020, 32 COVID-19 patients underwent initial chest CT before enrollment were evaluated in this study. Eighteen patients were randomized to start favipiravir on day 1 (early treatment group), and 14 patients on day 6 of study participation (late treatment group). In this study, percentages of ground-glass opacity (GGO), reticulation, consolidation, emphysema, honeycomb, and nodular lesion volumes were calculated as quantitative indexes by means of the software, while CT-determined disease severity was also visually scored. Next, univariate and stepwise regression analyses were performed to determine relationships between quantitative indexes and time until CT. Moreover, patient outcomes determined as viral clearance in the first 6 days and duration of fever were compared for those who started therapy within 4, 5, or 6 days as time until CT and those who started later by means of the Kaplan–Meier method followed by Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test. Results: % GGO and % consolidation showed significant correlations with time until CT (p < 0.05), and stepwise regression analyses identified both indexes as significant descriptors for time until CT (p < 0.05). When divided all patients between time until CT of 4 days and that of more than 4 days, accuracy of the combined quantitative method (87.5%) was significantly higher than that of the CT disease severity score (62.5%, p = 0.008). Conclusion: ML-based CT texture analysis is equally or more useful for predicting time until CT for favipiravir treatment on COVID-19 patients than CT disease severity score.
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