Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2015, more than 10 million people fell ill with TB and 1.8 million died from the disease.
Chest X-rays (CXR) play a crucial role in TB diagnosis, especially in the case of pulmonary TB (PTB), which is one of the most common presentations of TB. Although CXRs do not provide ground truth for confirming TB, they still offer a high sensitivity method for detecting TB-related abnormalities in the lungs (scars, opacities, pleural effusion, etc.). In addition, since CXRs provide a low-cost, rapid examination even in remote settings, it has been recognized as a powerful screening test for TB, especially in areas and populations with higher disease burden.
While the cost of acquiring a CXR has become much more affordable, the interpretation of CXR scans is currently limited by cost and access to trained radiologists. Hence, there are many patients that get diagnosed too late and unable to treat their symptoms using conventional TB antibiotics.