A Comparison Of Computed Tomography, Computed Radiography, And Film-Screen Radiography For The Detection Of Canine Pulmonary Nodules

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Alexander K, Joly H, Blond L, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2012;53:258-265.

Computed tomography (CT) has become more widely available and computed radiography (CR) has replaced film-screen radiography for canine thoracic imaging in many veterinary practices. There are limited data comparing these modalities in a veterinary clinical setting to detect pulmonary nodules. We compared CT, CR, and film-screen radiography for detecting the presence, number, and characteristics of pulmonary nodules in dogs. Observer performance for a variety of experience levels was also evaluated. Twenty-one client-owned dogs with a primary neoplastic process underwent CT and CR; nine also received film-screen radiographs. Positive/negative classification by consensus agreed between the three modalities in 8/9 dogs and between CR and CT in the remaining 12. CT detected the greatest (P = 0.002) total number of nodules and no difference was seen between CR and films. The greatest number of nodules was seen in the right middle and both caudal regions, but only using CT (P < 0.0001). Significantly smaller nodules were detected with CT (P = 0.0007) and no difference in minimum size was detected between CR and films. Observer accuracy was high for all modalities; particularly for CT (90.5–100%) and for the senior radiologist (90.5–100%). CT was also characterized by the least interobserver variability. Although CT, CR, and film-screen performed similarly in determining the presence or absence of pulmonary nodules, a greater number of smaller nodules was detected with CT, and CT was associated with greater diagnostic confidence and observer accuracy and agreement.