Article Abstract

Volumetric assessment of solid pulmonary nodules on ultralow-dose CT: a phantom study

Authors: Matthias Eberhard, Daniel Stocker, Gianluca Milanese, Katharina Martini, Thi Dan Linh Nguyen-Kim, Moritz C. Wurnig, Thomas Frauenfelder, Stephan Baumueller

Abstract

Background: To reduce the radiation exposure from chest computed tomography (CT), ultralow-dose CT (ULDCT) protocols performed at sub-millisievert levels were previously tested for the evaluation of pulmonary nodules (PNs). The purpose of our study was to investigate the effect of ULDCT and iterative image reconstruction on volumetric measurements of solid PNs.
Methods: CT datasets of an anthropomorphic chest phantom containing solid microspheres were obtained with a third-generation dual-source CT at standard dose, 1/8th, 1/20th and 1/70th of standard dose [CT volume dose index (CTDIvol): 0.03–2.03 mGy]. Semi-automated volumetric measurements were performed on CT datasets reconstructed with filtered back projection (FBP) and advanced modelled iterative reconstruction (ADMIRE), at strength level 3 and 5. Absolute percentage error (APE) evaluated measurement accuracy related to the effective volume. Scan repetition differences were evaluated using Bland-Altman analysis. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) assessed influence of different scan parameters on APE. Proportional differences (PDs) tested the effect of dose settings and reconstruction algorithms on volumetric measurements, as compared to the standard protocol (standard dose-FBP).
Results: Bland-Altman analysis revealed small mean interscan differences of APE with narrow limits of agreement (–0.1%±4.3% to –0.3%±3.8%). Dose settings (P<0.001), reconstruction algorithms (P<0.001), nodule diameters (P<0.001) and nodule density (P=0.011) had statistically significant influence on APE. Post-hoc Bonferroni tests showed slightly higher APE when scanning with 1/70th of standard dose [mean difference: 3.4%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.5–4.3%; P<0.001], and for image reconstruction with ADMIRE5 (mean difference: 1.8%, 95% CI: 1.0–2.5%; P<0.001). No significant differences for scanning with 1/20th of standard dose (P=0.42), and image reconstruction with ADMIRE3 (P=0.19) were found. Scanning with 1/70th of standard dose and image reconstruction with FBP showed the widest range of PDs (–16.8% to 23.4%) compared to standard dose-FBP.
Conclusions: Our phantom study showed no significant difference between nodule volume measurements on standard dose CT (CTDIvol: 2 mGy) and ULDCT with 1/20th of standard dose (CTDIvol: 0.10 mGy).