Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment of Smoking-related Lung Disease: Effect of Iterative Reconstruction on Low-dose Computed Tomographic Examinations

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Purpose:The purpose of this research is to examine the role that differing levels of adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) have on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of smoking-related lung disease.Materials and Methods:Institutional board review approval was obtained. A total of 52 patients undergoing clinically indicated low-dose computed tomographic (CT) examinations of the chest (100 kVp, 65 mAs, mean radiation dose 1.0±0.12 mSv), with reconstruction of data with different levels of blended ASIR (0%, 40%, and 100%), were consented. Qualitative assessment of CT data sets was performed by 2 trained thoracic radiologists blinded to clinical history, spirometry, and quantitative data for the presence of emphysema (%/lung zone) and the degree of respiratory bronchiolitis. Quantitative analysis was performed (Apollo Image analysis, VIDA Diagnostics) to assess emphysema and airway measures of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Results:The application of ASIR results in alterations in both qualitative and quantitative assessment of smoking-related lung disease. As levels of ASIR increased, both readers scored more respiratory bronchiolitis (P<0.05). At increased levels of ASIR (ie, 100% vs. 0%), the amount of emphysema measured (% below −950 HU) decreased, the number of airways measured diminished, and the airway thickness (Pi10mm) increased (P<0.001).Conclusions:The use of ASIR alters both the qualitative and quantitative assessment of smoking-related lung disease. Although a powerful tool to allow dose reduction, caution must be exercised when iterative reconstruction techniques are utilized when evaluating CT examinations for findings of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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