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Lim, Hyun-ju; Weinheimer, Oliver; Wielpütz, Mark O.; Dinkel, Julien; Hielscher, Thomas; Gompelmann, Daniela; Kauczor, Hans-Ulrich; Heussel, Claus Peter (2016): Fully Automated Pulmonary Lobar Segmentation: Influence of Different Prototype Software Programs onto Quantitative Evaluation of Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease.
In: PLOS ONE 11(3), e0151498


Objectives Surgical or bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (BLVR) techniques can be beneficial for heterogeneous emphysema. Post-processing software tools for lobar emphysema quantification are useful for patient and target lobe selection, treatment planning and post-interventional follow-up. We aimed to evaluate the inter-software variability of emphysema quantification using fully automated lobar segmentation prototypes. Material and Methods 66 patients with moderate to severe COPD who underwent CT for planning of BLVR were included. Emphysema quantification was performed using 2 modified versions of in-house software (without and with prototype advanced lung vessel segmentation;programs 1 [YACTA v.] and 2 [YACTA v.]), as well as 1 commercial program 3 [Pulmo3D VA30A_HF2] and 1 pre-commercial prototype 4 [CT COPD ISP ver7.0]). The following parameters were computed for each segmented anatomical lung lobe and the whole lung: lobar volume (LV), mean lobar density (MLD), 15th percentile of lobar density (15th), emphysema volume (EV) and emphysema index (EI). Bland-Altman analysis (limits of agreement, LoA) and linear random effects models were used for comparison between the software. Results Segmentation using programs 1, 3 and 4 was unsuccessful in 1 (1%), 7 (10%) and 5 (7%) patients, respectively. Program 2 could analyze all datasets. The 53 patients with successful segmentation by all 4 programs were included for further analysis. For LV, program 1 and 4 showed the largest mean difference of 72 ml and the widest LoA of [-356, 499 ml] (p<0.05). Program 3 and 4 showed the largest mean difference of 4% and the widest LoA of [-7, 14%] for EI (p<0.001). Conclusions Only a single software program was able to successfully analyze all scheduled data-sets. Although mean bias of LV and EV were relatively low in lobar quantification, ranges of disagreement were substantial in both of them. For longitudinal emphysema monitoring, not only scanning protocol but also quantification software needs to be kept constant.