Purpose: The image noise and image quality of a prototype ultra-high-resolution computed tomography (U-HRCT) scanner was evaluated and compared with those of conventional high-resolution CT (C-HRCT) scanners. Materials and Methods: This study was approved by the institutional review board. A U-HRCT scanner prototype with 0.25 mm × 4 rows and operating at 120 mAs was used. The C-HRCT images were obtained using a 0.5 mm × 16 or 0.5 mm × 64 detector-row CT scanner operating at 150 mAs. Images from both scanners were reconstructed at 0.1-mm intervals; the slice thickness was 0.25 mm for the U-HRCT scanner and 0.5 mm for the C-HRCT scanners. For both scanners, the display field of view was 80 mm. The image noise of each scanner was evaluated using a phantom. U-HRCT and C-HRCT images of 53 images selected from 37 lung nodules were then observed and graded using a 5-point score by 10 board-certified thoracic radiologists. The images were presented to the observers randomly and in a blinded manner. Results: The image noise for U-HRCT (100.87 ± 0.51 Hounsfield units [HU]) was greater than that for C-HRCT (40.41 ± 0.52 HU; P <.0001). The image quality of U-HRCT was graded as superior to that of C-HRCT (P <.0001) for all of the following parameters that were examined: margins of subsolid and solid nodules, edges of solid components and pulmonary ves sels in subsolid nodules, air bronchograms, pleural indentations, margins of pulmonary vessels, edges of bronchi, and interlobar fissures. Conclusion: Despite a larger image noise, the prototype U-HRCT scanner had a significantly better image quality than the C-HRCT scanners.
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