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Eur Respir J. 2010 Jul;36(1):122-7. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00127609. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

Comparison of storage phosphor computed radiography with conventional film-screen radiography in the recognition of pneumoconiosis.

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Surveillance Branch, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road, Mail Stop HG900.2, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888, USA.


Traditional film-screen radiography (FSR) has been useful in the recognition and evaluation of interstitial lung diseases, but is becoming increasingly obsolete. To evaluate the applicability of storage phosphor digital computed radiography (CR) images in the recognition of small lung opacities, we compared image quality and the profusion of small opacities between FSR and CR radiographs. We screened 1,388 working coal miners during the course of the study with FSR and CR images obtained on the same day from all participants. Each traditional chest film was independently interpreted by two of eight experienced readers using the International Labour Office (ILO) classification of radiographs of pneumoconiosis, as were CR images displayed on medical-grade computer monitors. The prevalence of small opacities (ILO category 1/0 or greater) did not differ between the two imaging modalities (5.2% for FSR and 4.8% for soft copy CR; p>0.50). Inter-reader agreement was also similar between FSR and CR. Significant differences between image modalities were observed in the shape of small opacities, and in the proportion of miners demonstrating high opacity profusion (category 2/1 and above). Our results indicate that, with appropriate attention to image acquisition and soft copy display, CR digital radiography can be equivalent to FSR in the identification of small interstitial lung opacities.

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