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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2006 Apr;186(4):989-94.

Inherent variability of CT lung nodule measurements in vivo using semiautomated volumetric measurements.

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Department of Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 W Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53226-3596, USA.



The objective of our study was to evaluate repeatability and reproducibility of lung nodule volume measurements using volumetric nodule-sizing software.


Fifty nodules, less than 20 mm in diameter, in 29 patients were scanned with 1.25-mm collimation using MDCT (time 1 = T1). During the same session, two additional scans, using identical technique, were obtained through each nodule (T2, T3). Three observers working independently then obtained volumetric measurements using a semiautomated volumetric nodule-sizing software package. Qualitative nodule characterization was also performed. The Bland-Altman method for assessing measurement agreement was used to calculate the 95% limits for agreement for nodule volumes at T1, T2, and T3.


Automated nodule segmentation was successful in 438 (97%) of 450 measurements. Forty-three nodules were available for final evaluation. Twenty-six nodules had well-defined edges, and 17 had irregular or spiculated margins. Seventeen were freestanding, 16 were juxtapleural, and 10 were juxtavascular in location. Average nodule volume was 345.5 mm(3) (range, 49.3-1,434 mm(3)). The mean interobserver variability (repeatability) was 0.018% (SD = 0.73%), and the SD of the mean for the three contemporaneous scans (reproducibility) was 13.1% (confidence limits, +/- 25.6%). SD and confidence limits narrowed as volumes increased.


Volumetric measurements show minimal interobserver variability (0.018%) but an interscan SEM of 13.1% (confidence limits, +/- 25.6%). Repeatability and reproducibility of volumetric measurements are better than those of linear measurements reported in the literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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