To compare objective and subjective image quality of bronchial structures between a 512-pixel and a 1024-pixel image matrix for chest CT in phantoms and in patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
First, a two-size chest phantom was imaged at two radiation doses on a 192-slice CT scanner. Datasets were reconstructed with 512-, 768-, and 1024-pixel image matrices and a sharp reconstruction kernel (Bl64). Image sharpness and normalized noise power spectrum (nNPS) were quantified. Second, chest CT images of 100 patients were reconstructed with 512- and 1024-pixel matrices and two blinded readers independently assessed objective and subjective image quality. In each patient dataset, the highest number of visible bronchi was counted for each lobe of the right lung. A linear mixed effects model was applied in the phantom study and a Welch's t-test in the patient study.
Objective image sharpness and image noise increased with increasing matrix size and were highest for the 1024-matrix in phantoms and patients (all, P<0.001). nNPS was comparable among the three matrices. Objective image noise was on average 16% higher for the 1024-matrix compared to the 512-matrix in patients (P<0.0001). Subjective evaluation in patients yielded improved sharpness but increased image noise for the 1024- compared to the 512-matrix (both, P<0.001). There was no significant difference between highest-order visible bronchi (P>0.07) and the overall bronchial image quality between the two matrices (P>0.22).
Our study demonstrated superior image sharpness and higher image noise for a 1024- compared to a 512-pixel matrix, while there was no significant difference in the depiction and subjective image quality of bronchial structures for chest CT.