OBJECTIVES: To evaluate interobserver agreement and time-trend in chest CT assessment of emphysema, airways, and interstitial abnormalities in a lung cancer screening cohort. METHODS: Visual assessment of baseline and fifth-year examination of 1990 participants was performed independently by two observers. Results were standardised by means of an electronic score sheet; kappa and time-trend analyses were performed. RESULTS: Interobserver agreement was substantial in early emphysema diagnosis; highly significant (p < 0.001) time-trends in both emphysema presence and grading were found (higher prevalence and grade of emphysema in late CT examinations). Significant progression in emphysema was seen in continuous smokers, but not in former smokers. Agreement on centrilobular emphysema subtype was substantial; agreement on paraseptal subtype, moderate. Agreement on panlobular and mixed subtypes was only fair. Agreement was fair regarding airway analysis. Interstitial abnormalities were infrequent in the cohort, and agreement on these was fair to moderate. A highly significant time-trend was found regarding interstitial abnormalities, which were more frequent in late examinations. CONCLUSIONS: Visual scoring of chest CT is able to characterise the presence, pattern, and progression of early emphysema. Continuous smokers progress; former smokers do not. KEY POINTS: • Substantial interobserver consistency in determining early-stage emphysema in low-dose CT. • Longitudinal analyses show clear time-trends for emphysema presence and grading. • For continuous smokers, progression of emphysema was seen in all lung zones. • For former smokers, progression of emphysema was undetectable by visual assessment. • Onset and progression of interstitial abnormalities are visually detectable.
European Radiology, 2014, Vol 24, Issue 11, p. 2692-2699
Journal Article; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't