High matrix image reconstruction significantly improves the quality of imaging findings reflecting interstitial lung disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Imaging Science. This means the new approach may be useful in diagnosing interstitial lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and assessing patient response to treatment.

“High matrix image reconstruction can be of benefit to radiologists evaluating a wide range of chest pathology,” the researchers wrote.

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To assess the effect of the approach and compare it with standard image reconstruction, a team of researchers led by Joel G. Fletcher, MD, from the Department of Radiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, conducted a retrospective study in 34 patients with interstitial or parenchymal lung disease, airway disease, or pulmonary nodules. 

All patients underwent chest computed tomography (CT), and the images were reconstructed using a high matrix (1024×1024) or standard matrix (512×512). All of the other parameters were matched. Two radiologists who were blinded to the reconstruction technique then examined each lung independently.

The results showed that relative conspicuity scores were significantly higher for all imaging findings indicative of IPF, as well as emphysema, mosaic attenuation, and fourth-order bronchi, when high matrix image reconstruction was used. These included peripheral airway visualization, interlobular septal thickening, intralobular reticular opacity, and end-stage fibrotic change. 

However, high matrix reconstruction did not improve confidence when internal nodule attenuation was present.  

Overall image quality was higher with high matrix image reconstruction, but subjective noise/artifacts was not.

The diagnosis of IPF is complex and often involves high-resolution CT, which allows for visualization of the anatomy of the lungs including the peripheral bronchi, pulmonary vessels, and interlobular septa. Image reconstruction in CT has a fundamental impact on image quality and therefore the radiation dose that is required.


Inoue A, Johnson TF, Voss BA, et al. A pilot study to estimate the impact of high matrix image reconstruction on chest computed tomography. J Clin Imaging Sci. 2021;11:52. doi:10.25259/JCIS_143_2021