"Image Subtraction Facilitates Assessment of Volume and Density Change in Ground-Glass Opacities in Chest CT"

Marius Staring, Josien P.W. Pluim, Bartjan de Hoop, Stefan Klein, Bram van Ginneken, Hester Gietema, George Nossent, Cornelia Schaefer-Prokop, Saskia van de Vorst and Mathias Prokop


Objectives: To study the impact of image subtraction of registered images on the detection of change in pulmonary ground-glass nodules identified on chest CT.

Materials and Methods: A cohort of 33 individuals (25 men, 8 women; age range 51 to 75 years) with 37 focal ground-glass opacities (GGO) were recruited from a lung cancer screening trial. For every participant, one to three follow-up scans were available (total number of pairs, 84). Pairs of scans of the same nodule were registered nonrigidly, and then subtracted to enhance differences in size and density. Four observers rated size and density change of the GGO between pairs of scans by visual comparison alone and with additional availability of a subtraction image and indicated their confidence. An independent experienced chest radiologist served as an arbiter having all reader data, clinical data and follow-up examinations available. Nodule pairs for which the arbiter could not establish definite progression, regression, or stability were excluded from further evaluation. This left 59 and 58 pairs for evaluation of size and density change, respectively. Weighted kappa statistics were used to assess inter-observer agreement and agreement with the arbiter. Statistical significance was tested with a kappa z-test.

Results: When the subtraction image was available, the average inter-observer improved from 0.52 to 0.66 for size change and from 0.47 to 0.57 for density change. Average agreement with the arbiter improved from 0.61 to 0.76 for size change and from 0.53 to 0.64 for density change. The effect was more pronounced when observer confidence without the subtraction image was low: agreement improved from 0.26 to 0.57 and from 0.19 to 0.47 in those cases.

Conclusions: Image subtraction improves the evaluation of subtle changes in pulmonary ground-glass opacities and decreases inter-observer variability.



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Copyright © 2009 by the authors. Published version © 2009 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint or republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works, must be obtained from the copyright holder.


BibTeX entry

author = "{Marius Staring and Josien P.W. Pluim and Bartjan de Hoop and Stefan Klein and Bram van Ginneken and Hester Gietema and George Nossent and Cornelia Schaefer-Prokop and Saskia van de Vorst and Mathias Prokop}",
title = "{Image Subtraction Facilitates Assessment of Volume and Density Change in Ground-Glass Opacities in Chest CT}",
journal = "{Investigative Radiology}",
volume = "{44}",
number = "{2}",
pages = "{61 - 66}",
month = "{February}",
year = "{2009}",

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