Pub. online:26 May 2021Type:Research ArticleOpen Access
Volume 32, Issue 2 (2021), pp. 305–319
(1) Background: Identifying early pancreas parenchymal changes remains a challenging radiologic diagnostic task. In this study, we hypothesized that applying artificial intelligence (AI) to contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) along with measurement of Heat Shock Protein (HSP)-70 levels could improve detection of early pancreatic necrosis in acute pancreatitis. (2) Methods: Acute pancreatitis $(n=146)$ and age- and sex matched healthy controls $(n=50)$ were enrolled in the study. The severity of acute pancreatitis was determined according to the revised Atlanta classification. The selected severe acute pancreatitis (AP) patient and an age/sex-matched healthy control were analysed for the algorithm initiation. Peripheral blood samples from the pancreatitis patient were collected on admission and HSP-70 levels were measured using ELISA. A CEUS device acquired multiple mechanical index contrast-specific mode images. Manual contour selection of the two-dimensional (2D) spatial region of interest (ROI) followed by calculations of the set of quantitative parameters. Image processing calculations and extraction of quantitative parameters from the CEUS diagnostic images were performed using algorithms implemented in the MATLAB software. (3) Results: Serum HSP-70 levels were 100.246 ng/ml (mean 76.4 ng/ml) at the time of the acute pancreatitis diagnosis. The CEUS Peek value was higher (155.5) and the mean transit time was longer (40.1 s) for healthy pancreas than in parenchyma affected by necrosis (46.5 and 34.6 s, respectively). (4) Conclusions: The extracted quantitative parameters and HSP-70 biochemical changes are suitable to be used further for AI-based classification of pancreas pathology cases and automatic estimation of pancreatic necrosis in AP.