Comparison of chest radiography, chest digital tomosynthesis and low dose MDCT to detect small ground-glass opacity nodules: an anthropomorphic chest phantom study

Kyung Won Doo, Eun-Young Kang, Hwan Seok Yong, Soo-Youn Ham, Ki Yeol Lee, Ji Yung Choo
European Radiology 2014, 24 (12): 3269-76

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of chest radiography (CXR), chest digital tomosynthesis (DT) and low dose multidetector computed tomography (LDCT) for the detection of small pulmonary ground-glass opacity (GGO) nodules, using an anthropomorphic chest phantom.

METHODS: Artificial pulmonary nodules were placed in a phantom and a total of 40 samples of different nodule settings underwent CXR, DT and LDCT. The images were randomly read by three experienced chest radiologists. Free-response receiver-operating characteristics (FROC) were used.

RESULTS: The figures of merit for the FROC curves averaged for the three observers were 0.41, 0.37 and 0.76 for CXR, DT and LDCT, respectively. FROC analyses revealed significantly better performance of LDCT over CXR or DT for the detection of GGO nodules (P < 0.05). The difference in detectability between CXR and DT was not statistically significant (P = 0.73).

CONCLUSION: The diagnostic performance of DT for the detection of pulmonary small GGO nodules was not significantly different from that of CXR, but LDCT performed significantly better than both CXR and DT. DT is not a suitable alternative to CT for small GGO nodule detection, and LDCT remains the method of choice for this purpose.

KEY POINTS: For GGO nodule detection, DT was not significantly different from CXR. DT is not a suitable alternative to CT for GGO nodule detection. LDCT is the method of choice for GGO nodule detection.

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