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Radiology. 1988 Feb;166(2):447-50.

Effects of image processing on nodule detection rates in digitized chest radiographs: ROC study of observer performance.

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Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710.


To evaluate the effects of image processing in digitized chest radiographs when high-resolution images are used, an examination was done in which the detection of pulmonary nodules in unprocessed digitized chest radiographs was compared with that in images that had undergone processing with two methods, adaptive filtration and histogram equalization. The processing techniques have been optimized in previous work to selectively enhance the retrocardiac and subdiaphragmatic areas without significant alteration of detail in the lung. Eight observers were shown 150 test radiographs (50 unprocessed, 50 processed with adaptive filtration, 50 processed with histogram equalization) containing 150 nodules. The results indicate a statistically significant (P less than .03) difference, with highest observer performance in the chest radiographs processed with adaptive filtration (median area under ROC curve = 0.78), compared with unprocessed images (median = 0.68) and chest radiographs processed with histogram equalization (median = 0.62). Performance in the lung was not significantly different. Adaptive filtration applied to selectively enhance underexposed areas of film images may improve nodule detection. Histogram equalization provided no improvement in performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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