Faster and Better: How Anomaly Detection Can Accelerate and Improve Reporting of Head Computed Tomography

Tom Finck, Julia Moosbauer, Monika Probst, Sarah Schlaeger, Madeleine Schuberth, David Schinz, Mehmet Yiğitsoy, Sebastian Byas, Claus Zimmer, Franz Pfister, Benedikt Wiestler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Most artificial intelligence (AI) systems are restricted to solving a pre-defined task, thus limiting their generalizability to unselected datasets. Anomaly detection relieves this shortfall by flagging all pathologies as deviations from a learned norm. Here, we investigate whether diagnostic accuracy and reporting times can be improved by an anomaly detection tool for head computed tomography (CT), tailored to provide patient-level triage and voxel-based highlighting of pathologies. Methods: Four neuroradiologists with 1–10 years of experience each investigated a set of 80 routinely acquired head CTs containing 40 normal scans and 40 scans with common pathologies. In a random order, scans were investigated with and without AI-predictions. A 4-week wash-out period between runs was included to prevent a reminiscence effect. Performance metrics for identifying pathologies, reporting times, and subjectively assessed diagnostic confidence were determined for both runs. Results: AI-support significantly increased the share of correctly classified scans (normal/pathological) from 309/320 scans to 317/320 scans (p = 0.0045), with a corresponding sensitivity, specificity, negative-and positive-predictive value of 100%, 98.1%, 98.2% and 100%, respectively. Further, reporting was significantly accelerated with AI-support, as evidenced by the 15.7% reduction in reporting times (65.1 ± 8.9 s vs. 54.9 ± 7.1 s; p < 0.0001). Diagnostic confidence was similar in both runs. Conclusion: Our study shows that AI-based triage of CTs can improve the diagnostic accuracy and accelerate reporting for experienced and inexperienced radiologists alike. Through ad hoc identification of normal CTs, anomaly detection promises to guide clinicians towards scans requiring urgent attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number452
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Anomaly detection
  • Classification
  • Computed tomography
  • Decision support
  • Machine learning
  • Neuroradiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Faster and Better: How Anomaly Detection Can Accelerate and Improve Reporting of Head Computed Tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this