Detectability and Volumetric Accuracy of Pulmonary Nodules in Low-Dose Photon-Counting Detector Computed Tomography: An Anthropomorphic Phantom Study

Joost F. Hop*, Anna N.H. Walstra, Gert Jan Pelgrim, Xueqian Xie, Noor A. Panneman, Niels W. Schurink, Sebastian Faby, Marcel van Straten, Geertruida H. de Bock, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart, Marcel J.W. Greuter

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The aim of this phantom study was to assess the detectability and volumetric accuracy of pulmonary nodules on photon-counting detector CT (PCD-CT) at different low-dose levels compared to conventional energy-integrating detector CT (EID-CT). In-house fabricated artificial nodules of different shapes (spherical, lobulated, spiculated), sizes (2.5–10 mm and 5–1222 mm3), and densities (−330 HU and 100 HU) were randomly inserted into an anthropomorphic thorax phantom. The phantom was scanned with a low-dose chest protocol with PCD-CT and EID-CT, in which the dose with PCD-CT was lowered from 100% to 10% with respect to the EID-CT reference dose. Two blinded observers independently assessed the CT examinations of the nodules. A third observer measured the nodule volumes using commercial software. The influence of the scanner type, dose, observer, physical nodule volume, shape, and density on the detectability and volumetric accuracy was assessed by a multivariable regression analysis. In 120 CT examinations, 642 nodules were present. Observer 1 and 2 detected 367 (57%) and 289 nodules (45%), respectively. With PCD-CT and EID-CT, the nodule detectability was similar. The physical nodule volumes were underestimated by 20% (range 8–52%) with PCD-CT and 24% (range 9–52%) with EID-CT. With PCD-CT, no significant decrease in the detectability and volumetric accuracy was found at dose reductions down to 10% of the reference dose (p > 0.05). The detectability and volumetric accuracy were significantly influenced by the observer, nodule volume, and a spiculated nodule shape (p < 0.05), but not by dose, CT scanner type, and nodule density (p > 0.05). Low-dose PCD-CT demonstrates potential to detect and assess the volumes of pulmonary nodules, even with a radiation dose reduction of up to 90%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3448
JournalDiagnostics
Volume13
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2023

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