Neural Computing and Applications

, Volume 31, Supplement 2, pp 901–914 | Cite as

Automated recognition of lung diseases in CT images based on the optimum-path forest classifier

  • Pedro P. Rebouças Filho
  • Antônio C. da Silva Barros
  • Geraldo L. B. Ramalho
  • Clayton R. Pereira
  • João Paulo Papa
  • Victor Hugo C. de Albuquerque
  • João Manuel R. S. TavaresEmail author
Original Article


The World Health Organization estimated that around 300 million people have asthma, and 210 million people are affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Also, it is estimated that the number of deaths from COPD increased \(30\%\) in 2015 and COPD will become the third major cause of death worldwide by 2030. These statistics about lung diseases get worse when one considers fibrosis, calcifications and other diseases. For the public health system, the early and accurate diagnosis of any pulmonary disease is mandatory for effective treatments and prevention of further deaths. In this sense, this work consists in using information from lung images to identify and classify lung diseases. Two steps are required to achieve these goals: automatically extraction of representative image features of the lungs and recognition of the possible disease using a computational classifier. As to the first step, this work proposes an approach that combines Spatial Interdependence Matrix (SIM) and Visual Information Fidelity (VIF). Concerning the second step, we propose to employ a Gaussian-based distance to be used together with the optimum-path forest (OPF) classifier to classify the lungs under study as normal or with fibrosis, or even affected by COPD. Moreover, to confirm the robustness of OPF in this classification problem, we also considered Support Vector Machines and a Multilayer Perceptron Neural Network for comparison purposes. Overall, the results confirmed the good performance of the OPF configured with the Gaussian distance when applied to SIM- and VIF-based features. The performance scores achieved by the OPF classifier were as follows: average accuracy of \(98.2\%\), total processing time of 117 microseconds in a common personal laptop, and F-score of 95.2% for the three classification classes. These results showed that OPF is a very competitive classifier, and suitable to be used for lung disease classification.


Medical imaging Optimum-path forest Feature extraction Image classification 



The authors thank the Graduate Program in Computer Science from the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceará and the Department of Computer Engineering from the Walter Cantídio University Hospital of the Federal University of Ceará, in Brazil, for the support given.

The first author acknowledges the sponsorship from the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceará through grants PROINFRA/2013 and PROAPP/2014. The author acknowledges also the sponsorship from the Brazilian National Council for Research and Development (CNPq).

Victor Hugo C. de Albuquerque thanks CNPq for providing financial support through grants 470501/2013-8 and 301928/2014-2.

João P. Papa is grateful to São Paulo Research Foundation grants #2014/16250-9 and #2014/12236-1, as well as CNPq grant #306166/2014-3.

Authors gratefully acknowledge the funding of Project NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000022—SciTech—Science and Technology for Competitive and Sustainable Industries, cofinanced by “Programa Operacional Regional do Norte” (NORTE2020), through “Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional” (FEDER).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Natural Computing Applications Forum 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro P. Rebouças Filho
    • 1
  • Antônio C. da Silva Barros
    • 1
  • Geraldo L. B. Ramalho
    • 1
  • Clayton R. Pereira
    • 2
  • João Paulo Papa
    • 2
  • Victor Hugo C. de Albuquerque
    • 3
  • João Manuel R. S. Tavares
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratório de Processamento Digital de Imagens e Simulação ComputacionalInstituto Federal de Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Ceará (IFCE)Campus MaracanaúBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciência da ComputaçãoUniversidade Estadual PaulistaBauru, São PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Informática AplicadaUniversidade de FortalezaFortalezaBrazil
  4. 4.Instituto de Ciência e Inovação em Engenharia Mecânica e Engenharia Industrial, Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica, Faculdade de EngenhariaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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