A Mathematical Simulation to Assess Variability in Lung Nodule Size Measurement Associated With Nodule-Slice Position

Krishna Juluru, Noor Al Khori, Sha He, Amy Kuceyeski, John Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to assess the variance and error in nodule diameter measurement associated with variations in nodule-slice position in cross-sectional imaging. A computer program utilizing a standard geometric model was used to simulate theoretical slices through a perfectly spherical nodule of known size, position, and density within a background of “lung” of known fixed density. Assuming a threshold density, partial volume effect of a voxel was simulated using published slice and pixel sensitivity profiles. At a given slice thickness and nodule size, 100 scans were simulated differing only in scan start position, then repeated for multiple node sizes at three simulated slice thicknesses. Diameter was measured using a standard, automated algorithm. The frequency of measured diameters was tabulated; average errors and standard deviations (SD) were calculated. For a representative 5-mm nodule, average measurement error ranged from +10 to −23 % and SD ranged from 0.07 to 0.99 mm at slice thicknesses of 0.75 to 5 mm, respectively. At fixed slice thickness, average error and SD decreased from peak values as nodule size increased. At fixed nodule size, SD increased as slice thickness increased. Average error exhibited dependence on both slice thickness and threshold. Variance and error in nodule diameter measurement associated with nodule-slice position exists due to geometrical limitations. This can lead to false interpretations of nodule growth or stability that could affect clinical management. The variance is most pronounced at higher slice thicknesses and for small nodule sizes. Measurement error is slice thickness and threshold dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2015

Keywords

  • Chest CT
  • Clinical oncology
  • Lung neoplasms
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications

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