Differences in Texture Analysis Parameters Between Active Alveolitis and Lung Fibrosis in Chest CT of Patients with Systemic Sclerosis: A Feasibility Study

Christopher Kloth, Anya C. Blum, Wolfgang M. Thaiss, Heike Preibsch, Hendrik Ditt, Rainer Grimmer, Jan Fritz, Konstantin Nikolaou, Hans Bösmüller, Marius Horger

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6 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives This study aimed to determine the diagnostic aid of computed tomography (CT) features for the differentiation of active alveolitis and fibrosis using a CT texture analysis (CTTA) prototype and CT densitometry in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) using ancillary high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) features and their longitudinal course as standard of reference. Materials and Methods We retrospectively analyzed thin-slice noncontrast chest CT image data of 43 patients with SSc (18 men, mean age 51.55 ± 15.52 years; range 23–71 years). All of them had repeated noncontrast enhanced HRCT of the lung. Classification into active alveolitis or fibrosis was done on HRCT based on classical HRCT findings (active alveolitis [19; 44.2%] and fibrosis [24; 55.8%]) and their course at midterm. Results were compared to pulmonary functional tests and were followed up by CT. Ground glass opacity was considered suggestive of alveolitis, whereas coarse reticulation with parenchymal distortion, traction bronchiectasis, and honeycombing were assigned to fibrosis. Results Statistically significant differences in CTTA were found for first-order textural features (mean intensity, average, deviation, skewness) and second-order statistics (entropy of co-occurrence matrix, mean number of nonuniformity (NGLDM), entropy of NGLDM, entropy of heterogeneity, intensity, and average). Cut-off value for the prediction of fibrosis at baseline was significant for entropy of intensity (P value <.001) and for mean deviation (P value <.001), and for prediction of alveolitis was significant for uniformity of intensity (P value <.001) and for NGLDM (P value <.001). At pulmonary functional tests, forced expiratory volume in 1 second and single-breath diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide were significantly lower in fibrosis than in alveolitis 2.03 ± 0.78 vs. 2.61 ± 0.83, P <.016 and 4.51 ± 1.61 vs. 6.04 ± 1.75, P <.009, respectively. Differences in CT densitometry between alveolitis and fibrosis were not significant. Conclusions CTTA parameters are significantly different in active alveolitis vs. fibrosis in patients with SSc and may be helpful for differentiation of these two entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1596-1603
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • CT scanning
  • HRCT
  • Texture analysis
  • active alveolitis
  • computed tomography densitometry
  • computer-assisted image interpretation
  • lung fibrosis
  • pulmonary function tests
  • radiology
  • systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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