Detection of mild emphysema by computed tomography density measurements

J. Vikgren, O. Friman, M. Borga, M. Boijsen, S. Gustavsson, A. Ekberg-Jansson, B. Bake, Ulf Tylen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the ability of a conventional density mask method to detect mild emphysema by high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT); to analyze factors influencing quantification of mild emphysema; and to validate a new algorithm for detection of mild emphysema. Material and Methods: Fifty-five healthy male smokers and 34 never-smokers, 61-62 years of age, were examined. Emphysema was evaluated visually, by the conventional density mask method, and by a new algorithm compensating for the effects of gravity and artifacts due to motion and the reconstruction algorithm. Effects of the reconstruction algorithm, slice thickness, and various threshold levels on the outcome of the density mask area were evaluated. Results: Forty-nine percent of the smokers had mild emphysema. The density mask area was higher the thinner the slice irrespective of the reconstruction algorithm and threshold level. The sharp algorithm resulted in increased density mask area. The new reconstruction algorithm could discriminate between smokers with and those without mild emphysema, whereas the density mask method could not. The diagnostic ability of the new algorithm was dependent on lung level. At about 90% specificity, sensitivity was 65-100% in the apical levels, but low in the rest of the lung. Conclusion: The conventional density mask method is inadequate for detecting mild emphysema, while the new algorithm improves the diagnostic ability but is nevertheless still imperfect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Computerized quantification
  • Emphysema
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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