Rationale and Objectives: The objectives of this study were to compare the visibility and quantification of subsolid nodules (SSNs) on computed tomography (CT) using adaptive iterative dose reduction using three-dimensional processing between 7 and 42 mAs and to assess the association of size-specific dose estimate (SSDE) with relative measured value change between 7 and 84 mAs (RMVC7–84) and relative measured value change between 42 and 84 mAs (RMVC42–84). Materials and Methods: As a Japanese multicenter research project (Area-detector Computed Tomography for the Investigation of Thoracic Diseases [ACTIve] study), 50 subjects underwent chest CT with 120 kV, 0.35 second per location and three tube currents: 240 mA (84 mAs), 120 mA (42 mAs), and 20 mA (7 mAs). Axial CT images were reconstructed using adaptive iterative dose reduction using three-dimensional processing. SSN visibility was assessed with three grades (1, obscure, to 3, definitely visible) using CT at 84 mAs as reference standard and compared between 7 and 42 mAs using t test. Dimension, mean CT density, and particular SSDE to the nodular center of 71 SSNs and volume of 58 SSNs (diameter >5 mm) were measured. Measured values (MVs) were compared using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests among CTs at three doses. Pearson correlation analyses were performed to assess the association of SSDE with RMVC7–84: 100 × (MV at 7 mAs − MV at 84 mAs)/MV at 84 mAs and RMVC42–84. Results: SSN visibilities were similar between 7 and 42 mAs (2.76 ± 0.45 vs 2.78 ± 0.40) (P = .67). For larger SSNs (>8 mm), MVs were similar among CTs at three doses (P > .05). For smaller SSNs (<8 mm), dimensions and volumes on CT at 7 mAs were larger and the mean CT density was smaller than 42 and 84 mAs, and SSDE had mild negative correlations with RMVC7–84 (P < .05). Conclusions: Comparable quantification was demonstrated irrespective of doses for larger SSNs. For smaller SSNs, nodular exaggerating effect associated with decreased SSDE on CT at 7 mAs compared to 84 mAs could result in comparable visibilities to CT at 42 mAs.
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