In the study involving 274 pulmonary nodules, the research team found that radiologists employing an iPad 2 could detect and localize all nodules on chest CT scans that were detected using an Apple iMac desktop computer. Reading times were also comparable.
"Image reading is relatively fast, so you can try to use [the iPad] for preliminary visualization of lung nodules," said Dr. Lorenzo Faggioni of the University of Pisa. "Another potential application might be for image sharing with nonradiologist specialists and also for teaching purposes with residents."
Powerful mobile devices such as the iPad allow the display of medical images from several different imaging modalities, without the need for a dedicated standalone workstation, Faggioni said. The research team sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the iPad 2 as a mobile device for 2D reading of chest CT datasets in the assessment of pulmonary nodules.
They retrospectively reviewed 17 chest CT exams for a total of 274 nodules sized between 2 mm and 27 mm. All CT images were acquired on 64-detector-row CT scanners and were wirelessly transmitted in DICOM format from an Apple iMac desktop computer that was connected to the institution's PACS to an iPad 2 (64 GB).
The iMac computer was running version 2.9 of the OsiriX image viewing software, while the iPad 2 used OsiriX HD software. The iMac has a 27-inch screen, and the iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch screen.
Two experienced readers read the CT datasets independently on the iMac and on the iPad 2. The detection rate and segmental localization of lesions for each dataset, as well as the time needed for complete reading of each chest CT exam, were recorded.
All nodules that were detected on the iMac were also identified on the iPad 2. Segmental localization was also correctly assessed in 100% of cases, Faggioni said.
The researchers also found imaging reading times to be comparable on both devices, with 4.88 ± 2.09 minutes required for the iMac and 5.21 ± 2.45 minutes for the iPad 2. This time difference was not significant, Faggioni said.
"Our findings show that the iPad can be successfully used for 2D reading of chest CT datasets in patients with pulmonary nodules, as all lesions detected on the iMac were also found and correctly localized on the iPad 2," Faggioni said.