Artificial intelligence as a diagnostic aid in cross-sectional radiological imaging of the abdominopelvic cavity: a protocol for a systematic review

George E Fowler*, Rhiannon C Macefield, Conor Hardacre, Mark P Callaway, Neil J Smart, Natalie S Blencowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction The application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies as a diagnostic aid in healthcare is increasing. Benefits include applications to improve health systems, such as rapid and accurate interpretation of medical images. This may improve the performance of diagnostic, prognostic and management decisions. While a large amount of work has been undertaken discussing the role of AI little is understood regarding the performance of such applications in the clinical setting. This systematic review aims to critically appraise the diagnostic performance of AI algorithms to identify disease from cross-sectional radiological images of the abdominopelvic cavity, to identify current limitations and inform future research.

Methods and analysis A systematic search will be conducted on Medline, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify relevant studies. Primary studies where AI-based technologies have been used as a diagnostic aid in cross-sectional radiological images of the abdominopelvic cavity will be included. Diagnostic accuracy of AI models, including reported sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, likelihood ratios and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve will be examined and compared with standard practice. Risk of bias of included studies will be assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool. Findings will be reported according to the Synthesis Without Meta-analysis guidelines.

Ethics and dissemination No ethical approval is required as primary data will not be collected. The results will inform further research studies in this field. Findings will be disseminated at relevant conferences, on social media and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42021237249.
Original languageEnglish
Article number054411
Number of pages27
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Contributors GEF and NSB conceived the idea for this systematic review. The search strategy was developed by all authors. GEF drafted the manuscript protocol (guarantor of review), and it was critically appraised and revised by NSB, CH, MPC, NJS and RCM. All authors approved the final manuscript before submission. Funding This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (MR/ S001751/1). Competing interests None declared. Patient consent for publication Not applicable. Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021.


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