A Bayesian Latent Class Model to Predict Kidney Obstruction in the Absence of Gold Standard

Kidney obstruction, if untreated in a timely manner, can lead to irreversible loss of renal function. A widely used technology for evaluations of kidneys with suspected obstruction is diuresis renography. However, it is generally very challenging for radiologists who typically interpret renography data in practice to build high level of competency due to the low volume of renography studies and insufficient training. Another challenge is that there is currently no gold standard for detection of kidney obstruction. Seeking to develop a computer-aided diagnostic (CAD) tool that can assist practicing radiologists to reduce errors in the interpretation of kidney obstruction, a recent study collected data from diuresis renography, interpretations on the renography data from highly experienced nuclear medicine experts as well as clinical data. To achieve the objective, we develop a statistical model that can be used as a CAD tool for assisting radiologists in kidney interpretation. We use a Bayesian latent class modeling approach for predicting kidney obstruction through the integrative analysis of time-series renogram data, expert ratings, and clinical variables. A nonparametric Bayesian latent factor regression approach is adopted for modeling renogram curves in which the coefficients of the basis functions are parameterized via the factor loadings dependent on the latent disease status and the extended latent factors that can also adjust for clinical variables. A hierarchical probit model is used for expert ratings, allowing for training with rating data from multiple experts while predicting with at most one expert, which makes the proposed model operable in practice. An efficient MCMC algorithm is developed to train the model and predict kidney obstruction with associated uncertainty. We demonstrate the superiority of the proposed method over several existing methods through extensive simulations. Analysis of the renal study also lends support to the usefulness of our model as a CAD tool to assist less experienced radiologists in the field.