Routine isotropic computed tomography scanning of chest: value of coronal and sagittal reformations

Invest Radiol. 2007 Jan;42(1):23-8. doi: 10.1097/01.rli.0000248972.06586.9b.


Objective: We sought to evaluate the usefulness of coronal and sagittal reformations from isotropic chest computed tomography (CT) examinations.

Methods: A total of 30 chest CT examinations were reconstructed into 2 sets of axial source images: 0.9-mm slice width with 0.45-mm reconstruction interval (isotropic) and 4-mm slices with 3-mm reconstruction interval. The isotropic dataset was reformatted into coronal and sagittal stacks with 4-mm slices. Three readers reviewed the image sets with 4-mm slice widths. Coronal and sagittal reformations were compared at the same sitting to axial images for depiction of anatomy and disease in the aorta, pulmonary arteries, hilar regions, mediastinum, lung parenchyma, pleura, diaphragm, thoracic spine, ribs, and trachea. A 5-point scale was used to determine whether nonaxial reformations showed anatomy and disease significantly better, somewhat better, same, somewhat worse or significantly worse than equivalent thickness axial source images. A 3-point scale was used to score if nonaxial image sets showed no, some, or significant additional information compared with the axial plane regarding the main diagnosis.

Results: There was better visualization of the hilar regions, diaphragm, spine, and trachea on the coronal reformations compared with source axial images (P < 0.05). Sagittal reformations scored better than axial source images for aorta, pleura, diaphragm, spine, and ribs (P < 0.05). The coronal and sagittal series showed significant additional information in 11% and 9% of patients, respectively.

Conclusion: Radiologists should consider the use of one or both of coronal and sagittal planes in addition to the axial series in routine interpretation of chest CT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iopamidol
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iopamidol