Multi-centre analysis of incidental findings on low-resolution CT attenuation correction images

Br J Radiol. 2014 Oct;87(1042):20130701. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20130701. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


Objective: To review new incidental findings detected on low-resolution CT attenuation correction (CTAC) images acquired during single-photon emission CT (SPECT-CT) myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and to determine whether the CTAC images had diagnostic value and warrant reporting.

Methods: A multicentre study was performed in four UK nuclear medicine departments. CTAC images acquired as part of MPI performed using SPECT were evaluated to identify incidental findings. New findings considered to be clinically significant were evaluated further. Positive predictive value (PPV) was determined at the time of definitive diagnosis.

Results: Of 1819 patients studied, 497 (27.3%) had a positive CTAC finding. 51 (2.8%) patients had findings that were clinically significant at the time of the CTAC report and had not been previously diagnosed. Only four (0.2%) of these were potentially detrimental to patient outcome.

Conclusion: One centre had a PPV of 0%, and the study suggests that these CTAC images should not be reported. Two centres with more modern equipment had low PPVs of 0% and 6%, respectively, and further research is suggested prior to drawing a conclusion. The centre with best quality CT had a PPV of 67%, and the study suggests that CTAC images from this equipment should be reported.

Advances in knowledge: This study is unique compared with previous studies that have reported only the potential to identify incidental findings on low-resolution CT images. This study both identifies and evaluates new clinically significant incidental findings, and it demonstrates that the benefit of reporting the CTAC images depends on the type of equipment used.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Incidental Findings*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods