Purpose: To evaluate the influence of slice thickness, reconstruction algorithm and tube current (mA) on the performance of a software package in determining the volume of solid pulmonary nodules on multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT).
Materials and methods: A chest phantom containing artificial solid nodules with known volume was imaged with two MDCT scans at 100 and 40 mAs (200 mA and 80 mA, 0.5-s rotation time), respectively. Data were reconstructed with slice thicknesses of 1.25 and 2.5 mm and five different algorithms. The volumes of three nodules (juxtavascular, intraparenchymal, juxtapleural) were calculated using three-dimensional (3D) volumetric software. Differences between estimated and real volume were reported for each nodule and reconstruction set.
Results: The software segmented all nodules on 1.25-mm-thick reconstructions, independently from the mAs. It did not segment the juxtapleural nodule on 2.5-mm-thick reconstructions at 40 mAs. Mean values of the differences, which better approximated the real volume of the nodules, were obtained with high-spatial-resolution algorithms on both 100 and 40 mAs images at 1.25-mm slice thickness.
Conclusions: Slice thickness, reconstruction algorithm and tube current can affect the 3D volume measurement of solid nodules. The best performance of the software, on both 100 and 40 mAs images, was observed with a slice thickness of 1.25 mm and high-spatial-resolution algorithms.