Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
Author(s): Christopher Kloth, Anya C. Blum, Wolfgang M. Thaiss, Heike Preibsch, Hendrik Ditt, Rainer Grimmer, Jan Fritz, Konstantin Nikolaou, Hans Bösmüller, Marius Horger
Rationale and ObjectivesThis study aimed to determine the diagnostic aid of computed tomography (CT) features for the differentiation of active alveolitis and fibrosis using a CT texture analysis (CTTA) prototype and CT densitometry in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) using ancillary high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) features and their longitudinal course as standard of reference.Materials and MethodsWe retrospectively analyzed thin-slice noncontrast chest CT image data of 43 patients with SSc (18 men, mean age 51.55 ± 15.52 years; range 23–71 years). All of them had repeated noncontrast enhanced HRCT of the lung. Classification into active alveolitis or fibrosis was done on HRCT based on classical HRCT findings (active alveolitis [19; 44.2%] and fibrosis [24; 55.8%]) and their course at midterm. Results were compared to pulmonary functional tests and were followed up by CT. Ground glass opacity was considered suggestive of alveolitis, whereas coarse reticulation with parenchymal distortion, traction bronchiectasis, and honeycombing were assigned to fibrosis.ResultsStatistically significant differences in CTTA were found for first-order textural features (mean intensity, average, deviation, skewness) and second-order statistics (entropy of co-occurrence matrix, mean number of nonuniformity (NGLDM), entropy of NGLDM, entropy of heterogeneity, intensity, and average). Cut-off value for the prediction of fibrosis at baseline was significant for entropy of intensity (P value < .001) and for mean deviation (P value < .001), and for prediction of alveolitis was significant for uniformity of intensity (P value < .001) and for NGLDM (P value < .001).At pulmonary functional tests, forced expiratory volume in 1 second and single-breath diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide were significantly lower in fibrosis than in alveolitis 2.03 ± 0.78 vs. 2.61 ± 0.83, P < .016 and 4.51 ± 1.61 vs. 6.04 ± 1.75, P < .009, respectively. Differences in CT densitometry between alveolitis and fibrosis were not significant.ConclusionsCTTA parameters are significantly different in active alveolitis vs. fibrosis in patients with SSc and may be helpful for differentiation of these two entities.
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