Improving early diagnosis of pulmonary infections in patients with febrile neutropenia using low-dose chest computed tomography

M G Gerritsen, M J Willemink, E Pompe, T van der Bruggen, A van Rhenen, J W J Lammers, F Wessels, R W Sprengers, P A de Jong, M C Minnema

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27 Citations (Scopus)


We performed a prospective study in patients with chemotherapy induced febrile neutropenia to investigate the diagnostic value of low-dose computed tomography compared to standard chest radiography. The aim was to compare both modalities for detection of pulmonary infections and to explore performance of low-dose computed tomography for early detection of invasive fungal disease. The low-dose computed tomography remained blinded during the study. A consensus diagnosis of the fever episode made by an expert panel was used as reference standard. We included 67 consecutive patients on the first day of febrile neutropenia. According to the consensus diagnosis 11 patients (16.4%) had pulmonary infections. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 36%, 93%, 50% and 88% for radiography, and 73%, 91%, 62% and 94% for low-dose computed tomography, respectively. An uncorrected McNemar showed no statistical difference (p = 0.197). Mean radiation dose for low-dose computed tomography was 0.24 mSv. Four out of 5 included patients diagnosed with invasive fungal disease had radiographic abnormalities suspect for invasive fungal disease on the low-dose computed tomography scan made on day 1 of fever, compared to none of the chest radiographs. We conclude that chest radiography has little value in the initial assessment of febrile neutropenia on day 1 for detection of pulmonary abnormalities. Low-dose computed tomography improves detection of pulmonary infiltrates and seems capable of detecting invasive fungal disease at a very early stage with a low radiation dose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0172256
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Journal Article
  • Lung Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses
  • Neutropenia
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virus Diseases
  • Young Adult

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