Follow-up of CT-derived airway wall thickness: Correcting for changes in inspiration level improves reliability

M. Pompe, E. van Rikxoort, O. Mets, J. Charbonnier, J. Kuhnigk, H. de Koning, M. Oudkerk, R. Vliegenthart, P. Zanen, J. Lammers, B. van Ginneken, P. de Jong and F. Mohamed Hoesein

European Journal of Radiology 2016;85:2008-2013

DOI PMID

Abstract

Objectives Airway wall thickness (AWT) is affected by changes in lung volume. This study evaluated whether correcting AWT on computed tomography (CT) for differences in inspiration level improves measurement agreement, reliability, and power to detect changes over time.

Methods Participants of the Dutch-Belgian lung cancer screening trial who underwent 3-month repeat CT for an indeterminate pulmonary nodule were included. AWT on CT was calculated by the square root of the wall area at a theoretical airway with an internal perimeter of 10?mm (Pi10). The scan with the highest lung volume was labelled as the reference scan and the scan with the lowest lung volume was labelled as the comparison scan. Pi10 derived from the comparison scan was corrected by multiplying it with the ratio of CT lung volume of the comparison scan to CT lung volume on the reference scan. Agreement of uncorrected and corrected Pi10 was studied with the Bland-Altman method, reliability with intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC), and power to detect changes over time was calculated.

Results 315 male participants were included. Limit of agreement and reliability for Pi10 was ?0.61 to 0.57?mm (ICC?=?0.87), which improved to ?0.38 to 0.37?mm (ICC?=?0.94) after correction for inspiration level. To detect a 15% change over 3 months, 71 subjects are needed for Pi10 and 26 subjects for Pi10 adjusted for inspiration level.

Conclusions Correcting Pi10 for differences in inspiration level improves reliability, agreement, and power to detect changes over time.

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