Automated detection of lung nodules in CT scans: Effect of image reconstruction algorithm

Samuel G. Armato, Michael B. Altman, Patrick J. La Rivière

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We have investigated the effect of computed tomography (CT) image reconstruction algorithm on the performance of our automated lung nodule detection method. Commercial CT scanners offer a choice of several algorithms for the reconstruction of projection data into transaxial images. Different algorithms produce images with substantially different properties that are apparent not only quantitatively, but also through visual assessment. During some clinical thoracic CT examinations, patient scans are reconstructed with multiple reconstruction algorithms. Thirty-eight such cases were collected to form two databases: one with patient projection data reconstructed with the "standard" reconstruction algorithm and the other with the same patient projection data reconstructed with the "lung" reconstruction algorithm. The automated nodule detection method was applied to both databases. This method is based on gray- level-thresholding techniques to segment the lung regions from each CT section to create a segmented lung volume. Further gray-level-thresholding techniques are applied within the segmented lung volume to identify a set of lung nodule candidates. Rule-based and linear discriminant classifiers are used to differentiate between lung nodule candidates that correspond to actual nodules and those that correspond to non-nodules. The automated method that was applied to both databases was exactly the same, except that the classifiers were calibrated separately for each database. For comparison, the classifier then was trained on one database and tested independently on the other database. When applied to the databases in this manner, the automated method demonstrated overall a similar level of performance, indicating an encouraging degree of robustness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-472
Number of pages12
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Computed tomography
  • Computer-aided diagnosis (CAD)
  • Image processing
  • Image reconstruction
  • Lung nodules


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