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Title: Eye-tracking of nodule detection in lung CT volumetric data

Purpose: Signal detection on 3D medical images depends on many factors, such as foveal and peripheral vision, the type of signal, and background complexity, and the speed at which the frames are displayed. In this paper, the authors focus on the speed with which radiologists and naïve observers search through medical images. Prior to the study, the authors asked the radiologists to estimate the speed at which they scrolled through CT sets. They gave a subjective estimate of 5 frames per second (fps). The aim of this paper is to measure and analyze the speed with which humans scroll through image stacks, showing a method to visually display the behavior of observers as the search is made as well as measuring the accuracy of the decisions. This information will be useful in the development of model observers, mathematical algorithms that can be used to evaluate diagnostic imaging systems. Methods: The authors performed a series of 3D 4-alternative forced-choice lung nodule detection tasks on volumetric stacks of chest CT images iteratively reconstructed in lung algorithm. The strategy used by three radiologists and three naïve observers was assessed using an eye-tracker in order to establish where their gaze was fixed during themore » experiment and to verify that when a decision was made, a correct answer was not due only to chance. In a first set of experiments, the observers were restricted to read the images at three fixed speeds of image scrolling and were allowed to see each alternative once. In the second set of experiments, the subjects were allowed to scroll through the image stacks at will with no time or gaze limits. In both static-speed and free-scrolling conditions, the four image stacks were displayed simultaneously. All trials were shown at two different image contrasts. Results: The authors were able to determine a histogram of scrolling speeds in frames per second. The scrolling speed of the naïve observers and the radiologists at the moment the signal was detected was measured at 25–30 fps. For the task chosen, the performance of the observers was not affected by the contrast or experience of the observer. However, the naïve observers exhibited a different pattern of scrolling than the radiologists, which included a tendency toward higher number of direction changes and number of slices viewed. Conclusions: The authors have determined a distribution of speeds for volumetric detection tasks. The speed at detection was higher than that subjectively estimated by the radiologists before the experiment. The speed information that was measured will be useful in the development of 3D model observers, especially anthropomorphic model observers which try to mimic human behavior.« less
; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Institute of Radiation Physics, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne 1004 (Switzerland)
  2. Department of Radiology, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne 1004 (Switzerland)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 6; Other Information: (c) 2015 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States