Inter‐Observer Agreement between Low‐Dose and Standard‐Dose CT with Soft and Sharp Convolution Kernels in COVID‐19 Pneumonia
Computed tomography (CT) has been an essential diagnostic tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study aimed to develop an optimal CT protocol in terms of safety and reliability. For this, we assessed the inter-observer agreement between CT and low-dose CT (LDCT) with soft and sharp kernels using a semi-quantitative severity scale in a prospective study (Moscow, Russia). Two consecutive scans with CT and LDCT were performed in a single visit. Reading was performed by ten radiologists with 3–25 years’ experience. The study included 230 patients, and statistical analysis showed LDCT with a sharp kernel as the most reliable protocol (percentage agreement 74.35 ± 43.77%), but its advantage was marginal. There was no significant correlation between radiologists’ experience and average percentage agreement for all four evaluated protocols. Regarding the radiation exposure, CTDIvol was 3.6 ± 0.64 times lower for LDCT. In conclusion, CT and LDCT with soft and sharp reconstructions are equally reliable for COVID-19 reporting using the “CT 0-4” scale. The LDCT protocol allows for a significant decrease in radiation exposure but may be restricted by body mass index.