Article Abstract

Consistency of radiologists in identifying pulmonary nodules based on low-dose computed tomography

Authors: Shuai Ming, Wei Yang, Si-Jia Cui, Shuai Huang, Xiang-Yang Gong

Abstract

Background: To study the consistency of radiologists in identifying pulmonary nodules based on low-dose computed tomography (LDCT), and to analyze factors that affect the consistency.
Methods: A total of 750 LDCT cases were collected randomly from three medical centers. Three experienced chest radiologists independently evaluated and detected the pulmonary nodules on 625 cases of LDCT images. The detected nodules were classified into 3 groups: group I (detected by all radiologists); group II (detected by two radiologists); group III (detected by only one radiologist). The consistency with respect to the image features of individual nodules was assessed.
Results: A total of 1,206 nodules were identified by the three radiologists. There were 234 (19.4%) nodules in group I, 377 (31.3%) nodules in group II, and 595 (49.3%) nodules in group III. Logistic regression showed that the size, density, and location of the nodules correlated with the detection of nodules. Nodules sized great than or equal to 4 mm were more consistently identified than nodules sized less than 4 mm. Solid and calcified nodules were more consistently identified than sub-solid nodules. Nodules located in the outer zone were more consistently identified than hilar nodules.
Conclusions: There was considerable inter-reader variability with respect to identification of pulmonary nodules in LDCT. Larger nodules, solid or calcified nodules, and nodules located in the outer zone were more consistently identified.