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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)?
Critical Challenge (CC)
Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC
Methods for stratifying patients with diffuse lung disease are crucial for predicting their clinical course and directing appropriate therapies accordingly. Currently imaging markers for prognostic stratification are limited, due to observer variability in characterizing the type and degree of computed tomography (CT) abnormalities. A reproducible method for categorizing varying diffuse lung diseases on CT imaging is needed, particularly in combination with other biomarkers in a multidisciplinary approach. With lung cancer screening, the characterization and stratification of patients with varying COPD phenotypes and interstitial lung disease are essential to aid in management of the large number of patients who currently satisfy criteria for CT lung cancer screening.
Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC
Currently the classification of diffuse lung disease on CT is based upon visual evaluation and qualitative or semi-quantitative evaluation of CT data. Diffuse lung disease manifests with varying CT findings and distribution within the lung. Computer-assisted tools for quantifying airways and parenchymal disease have been developed. More-sophisticated quantitative computer image-analysis methods, such as those that address three-dimensional spatial orientation, are possible given advances in computer capabilities yet remain in need of further development. Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MR) technology, positron emission tomography (PET), and PET/MR will increase the ability to characterize diffuse lung disease quantitatively. The ability of such technology to differentiate subtypes within more frequently occurring and clinically-significant diffuse lung disease is feasible. Such tools would impact a large population, particularly given the potential need to phenotype emphysema and smoking-related interstitial pneumonias in those undergoing CT screening.
Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea
Society of Thoracic Radiology