Detection and size measurements of pulmonary nodules in ultra-low-dose CT with iterative reconstruction compared to low dose CT

Xin Sui, Felix G Meinel, Wei Song, Xiaoli Xu, Zixing Wang, Yuyan Wang, Zhengyu Jin, Jiuhong Chen, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart, U Joseph Schoepf
European Journal of Radiology 2016, 85 (3): 564-70

BACKGROUND: In this study, the accuracy of ultra-low-dose computed tomography (CT) with iterative reconstruction (IR) for detection and measurement of pulmonary nodules was evaluated.

METHODS: Eighty-four individuals referred for lung cancer screening (mean age: 54.5±10.8 years) underwent low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) and ultra-low-dose CT. CT examinations were performed with attenuation-based tube current modulation. Reference tube voltage and current were set to 120kV/25mÅs for LDCT and 80kV/4mÅs for ultra-low-dose CT. CT images were reconstructed with filtered back projection (FBP) for LDCT, and with FBP and IR for ultra-low-dose CT datasets. A reference standard was established by a consensus panel of 2 different radiologists on LDCT. Volume and diameter of the solid nodules were measured on LDCT with FBP and ultra-low dose CT with FBP and IR. Interobserver and interscan variability were analyzed and compared by the Bland-Altman method.

RESULTS: A total of 127 nodules were identified, including 105 solid nodules, 15 part solid nodules, 7 ground glass nodules. On ultra-low-dose CT scans, the effective radiation dose was 0.13±0.11mSv. A total of 113 (88.9%) and 110 (86.6%) true-positive nodules with FBP versus 117 (92.1%) and 118(92.9%) with IR were detected by two observers, respectively. The volume and size of the 105 solid nodules were measured, with mean volume/diameter of 46.5±46.6 mm(3)/5.1±1.6mm. There was no significant difference in nodule volume or diameter measurements between ultra-low-dose CT and LDCT protocols for solid nodules.

CONCLUSIONS: Ultra-low-dose CT with iterative reconstruction has high sensitivity for lung nodule detection without significant difference in nodule size and volume measurement compared to LDCT.

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