Volumetric measurement of pulmonary nodules at low-dose chest CT: effect of reconstruction setting on measurement variability

Eur Radiol. 2010 May;20(5):1180-7. doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1634-9. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


Objective: To assess volumetric measurement variability in pulmonary nodules detected at low-dose chest CT with three reconstruction settings.

Methods: The volume of 200 solid pulmonary nodules was measured three times using commercially available semi-automated software of low-dose chest CT data-sets reconstructed with 1 mm section thickness and a soft kernel (A), 2 mm and a soft kernel (B), and 2 mm and a sharp kernel (C), respectively. Repeatability coefficients of the three measurements within each setting were calculated by the Bland and Altman method. A three-level model was applied to test the impact of reconstruction setting on the measured volume.

Results: The repeatability coefficients were 8.9, 22.5 and 37.5% for settings A, B and C. Three-level analysis showed that settings A and C yielded a 1.29 times higher estimate of nodule volume compared with setting B (P = 0.03). The significant interaction among setting, nodule location and morphology demonstrated that the effect of the reconstruction setting was different for different types of nodules. Low-dose CT reconstructed with 1 mm section thickness and a soft kernel provided the most repeatable volume measurement.

Conclusion: A wide, nodule-type-dependent range of agreement between volume measurements with different reconstruction settings suggests strict consistency is required for serial CT studies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Software
  • Solitary Pulmonary Nodule / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*