Automatic ganglion cell detection for improving the efficiency and accuracy of hirschprung disease diagnosis

Ariel Greenberg, Asaf Aizic, Asia Zubkov, Sarah Borsekofsky, Rami R. Hagege, Dov Hershkovitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Histopathologic diagnosis of Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) is time consuming and requires expertise. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital pathology is actively researched and may improve the diagnosis of HSCR. The purpose of this research was to develop an algorithm capable of identifying ganglion cells in digital pathology slides and implement it as an assisting tool for the pathologist in the diagnosis of HSCR. Ninety five digital pathology slides were used for the construction and training of the algorithm. Fifty cases suspected for HSCR (727 slides) were used as a validation cohort. Image sets suspected to contain ganglion cells were chosen by the algorithm and then reviewed and scored by five pathologists, one HSCR expert and 4 non-experts. The algorithm was able to identify ganglion cells with 96% sensitivity and 99% specificity (in normal colon) as well as to correctly identify a case previously misdiagnosed as non-HSCR. The expert was able to achieve perfectly accurate diagnoses based solely on the images suggested by the algorithm, with over 95% time saved. Non-experts would require expert consultation in 20–58% of the cases to achieve similar results. The use of AI in the diagnosis of HSCR can greatly reduce the time and effort required for diagnosis and improve accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3306
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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