Influence of x-ray pulse parameters on the image quality for moving objects in digital cardiac imaging

X-ray pulse parameters and moving objects

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Abstract

The image quality of a single frame in a modern cardiac imaging x-ray facility can be improved by adjusting the automatic pulse exposure parameters. The effects of acquisition rate on patient dose and the detectability of moving objects have been fully described in scientific literature. However, the influence of automatic pulse exposure parameters is still to be determined. Images of a moving wheel (with lead wires) were acquired using an H5000 Philips Integris cardiac x-ray system. Poly(methylmethacrylate) plastic samples 20 and 30cm thick were employed as the build-up phantom to simulate a patient. The images were obtained using preset clinical parameters for cardiac imaging procedures. The signal detectability and motion blur of a contrast bar at a transversal speed in the range of 100150mm/s were evaluated with a cine pulse width of 3, 5, 7, and 10ms under automatic mA kV regulation. Two levels of exposure at the image intensifier entrance were included in this study. Signal detectability was analyzed in terms of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the value of SNR2/entrance surface dose. The blurring was modeled as a Gaussian-shaped blurring function, and the motion blur was expressed in terms of the peak full width at half maximum and amplitude (apparent contrast) of the resolution functions. A contrast bar simulating a vessel in motion at the maximum velocities of typical cardiac structures was exposed. Severe loss of image quality occurred at pulse widths 7ms. It is also shown that below 5ms static nonlinearities, likely caused by the need to use a large focus for cine acquisition, dominate the blurring process.

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