Article Abstract

The impact of slice-reduced computed tomography on histogrambased densitometry assessment of lung fibrosis in patients with systemic sclerosis

Authors: Thi Dan Linh Nguyen-Kim, Britta Maurer, Yossra A. Suliman, Fabian Morsbach, Oliver Distler, Thomas Frauenfelder


Background: To evaluate usability of slice-reduced sequential computed tomography (CT) compared to standard high-resolution CT (HRCT) in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) for qualitative and quantitative assessment of interstitial lung disease (ILD) with respect to (I) detection of lung parenchymal abnormalities, (II) qualitative and semiquantitative visual assessment, (III) quantification of ILD by histograms and (IV) accuracy for the 20%-cut off discrimination.
Methods: From standard chest HRCT of 60 SSc patients sequential 9-slice-computed tomography (reduced HRCT) was retrospectively reconstructed. ILD was assessed by visual scoring and quantitative histogram parameters. Results from standard and reduced HRCT were compared using non-parametric tests and analysed by univariate linear regression analyses.
Results: With respect to the detection of parenchymal abnormalities, only the detection of intrapulmonary bronchiectasis was significantly lower in reduced HRCT compared to standard HRCT (P=0.039). No differences were found comparing visual scores for fibrosis severity and extension from standard and reduced HRCT (P=0.051–0.073). All scores correlated significantly (P<0.001) to histogram parameters derived from both, standard and reduced HRCT. Significant higher values of kurtosis and skewness for reduced HRCT were found (both P<0.001). In contrast to standard HRCT histogram parameters from reduced HRCT showed significant discrimination at cut-off 20% fibrosis (sensitivity 88% kurtosis and skewness; specificity 81% kurtosis and 86% skewness; cut-off kurtosis ≤26, cut-off skewness ≤4; both P<0.001).
Conclusions: Reduced HRCT is a robust method to assess lung fibrosis in SSc with minimal radiation dose with no difference in scoring assessment of lung fibrosis severity and extension in comparison to standard HRCT. In contrast to standard HRCT histogram parameters derived from the approach of reduced HRCT could discriminate at a threshold of 20% lung fibrosis with high sensitivity and specificity. Hence it might be used to detect early disease progression of lung fibrosis in context of monitoring and treatment of SSc patients.