Objective: To evaluate how changes in lung volume affect volumetric measurements of lung nodules using a multi-detector row CT.
Materials and methods: Ten subjects with asthma or chronic bronchitis who had one or more lung nodules were included. For each subject, two sets of CT images were obtained at inspiration and at expiration. A total of 33 nodules (23 nodules > or =3 mm) were identified and their volume measured using a semiautomatic volume measurement program. Differences between nodule volume on inspiration and expiration were compared using the paired t-test. Percent differences, between on inspiration and expiration, in nodule attenuation, total lung volume, whole lung attenuation, and regional lung attenuation, were computed and compared with percent difference in nodule volume determined by linear correlation analysis.
Results: The difference in nodule volume observed between inspiration and expiration was significant (p < 0.01); the mean percent difference in lung nodule volume was 23.1% for all nodules and for nodules > or =3 mm. The volume of nodules was measured to be larger on expiration CT than on inspiration CT (28 out of 33 nodules; 19 out of 23 nodules > or =3 mm). A statistically significant correlation was found between the percent difference of lung nodule volume and lung volume or regional lung attenuation (p < 0.05) for nodules > or =3 mm.
Conclusion: Volumetric measurements of pulmonary nodules were significantly affected by changes in lung volume. The variability in this respiration-related measurement should be considered to determine whether growth has occurred in a lung nodule.