Variations in the functional visual field for detection of lung nodules on chest computed tomography: Impact of nodule size, distance, and local lung complexity.

Ebner, Lukas; Tall, Martin; Choudhury, Kingshuk Roy; Ly, Donald L; Roos, Justus E; Napel, Sandy; Rubin, Geoffrey D (2017). Variations in the functional visual field for detection of lung nodules on chest computed tomography: Impact of nodule size, distance, and local lung complexity. Medical physics, 44(7), pp. 3483-3490. American Association of Physicists in Medicine AAPM 10.1002/mp.12277

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To explore the characteristics that impact lung nodule detection by peripheral vision when searching for lung nodules on chest CT-scans.


This study was approved by the local IRB and is HIPAA compliant. A simulated primary (1°) target mass (2 × 2 × 5 cm) was embedded into 5 cm thick subvolumes (SV) extracted from three unenhanced lung MDCT scans (64 row, 1.25 mm thickness, 0.7 mm increment). One of 30 solid, secondary nodules with either 3-4 mm and 5-8 mm diameters were embedded into 192 of 207 SVs. The secondary nodule was placed at a random depth within each SV, a transverse distance of 2.5, 5, 7.5, or 10 mm, and along one of eight rays cast every 45° from the center of the 1° mass. Video recordings of transverse paging in cranio-caudal direction were created for each SV (frame rate three sections/sec). Six radiologists observed each cine-loop once while gaze-tracking hardware assured that gaze was centered on the 1° mass. Each radiologist assigned a confidence rating (0-5) to the detection of a secondary nodule and indicated its location. Detection sensitivity was analyzed relative to secondary nodule size, transverse distance, radial orientation, and lung complexity. Lung complexity was characterized by the number of particles (connected pixels) and the sum of the area of all particles above a -500 HU threshold within regions of interest around the 1° mass and secondary nodule.


Using a proportional odds logistic regression model and eliminating redundant predictors, models fit individually to each reader resulted in the following decreasing order of association based on greatest reduction in Akaike Information Criterion: secondary nodule diameter (6/6 readers, P < 0.001), distance from central mass (6/6 readers, P < 0.001), lung complexity particle count (5/6 readers, P = 0.05), and lung complexity particle area (3/6 readers, P = 0.03). Substantial inter-reader differences in sensitivity to decreasing nodule diameter, distance, and complexity characteristics were observed.


Of the investigated parameters, secondary nodule size, distance from the gaze center and lung complexity (particle number and area) significantly impact nodule detection with peripheral vision.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology

UniBE Contributor:

Ebner, Lukas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




American Association of Physicists in Medicine AAPM




Santa Bertina Schiaroli

Date Deposited:

19 Oct 2017 15:16

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2017 16:29

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

eye tracking lung complexity lung nodule detection perception thoracic computed tomography




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