Retrospective Analysis of Subsolid Nodules' Frequency Using Chest Computed Tomography Detection in an Outpatient Population

Tomography. 2023 Aug 9;9(4):1494-1503. doi: 10.3390/tomography9040119.


Introduction: The study was designed to evaluate the frequency of detection and the characteristics of subsolid nodules (SSNs) in outpatients' chest computed tomography (CT) scans from a private hospital in Southern Brazil.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of all chest CT scans was performed in adult patients from ambulatory care (non-lung cancer screening population) over a thirty-day period. Inclusion criteria were age > 18 years and lung-scanning protocols, including standard-dose high-resolution chest CT (HRCT), enhanced CT, CT angiography, and low-dose chest CT (LDCT). SSNs main features collected were mean diameter, number, density (pure or heterogenous ground glass nodules and part-solid), and localization. TheLungRADS system and the updated Fleischner Society's pulmonary nodules recommendations were used for categorization only for study purposes, although not specifically fitting the population. The presence of emphysema, as well as calcified and solid nodules were also addressed. Statistical analysis was performed using R software, categorial variables are shown as absolute or relative frequencies, and continuous variables as mean and interquartile ranges.

Results: Chest computed tomography were performed in 756 patients during the study period (September 2019), and 650 met the inclusion criteria. The IQR for age was 53/73 years; most participants were female (58.3%) and 10.6% had subsolid nodules detected.

Conclusions: The frequency of SSNs detection in patients in daily clinical practice, not related to screening populations, is not negligible. Regardless of the final etiology, follow-up is often indicated, given the likelihood of malignancy for persistent lesions.

Keywords: CT; computed tomography; detection; ground glass nodules; lung; subsolid nodules.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Pulmonary Nodules* / diagnostic imaging
  • Outpatients*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.