4D-CT motion estimation using deformable image registration and 5D respiratory motion modeling



Four-dimensional computed tomography (4D-CT) imaging technology has been developed for radiation therapy to provide tumor and organ images at the different breathing phases. In this work, a procedure is proposed for estimating and modeling the respiratory motion field from acquired 4D-CT imaging data and predicting tissue motion at the different breathing phases. The 4D-CT image data consist of series of multislice CT volume segments acquired in ciné mode. A modified optical flow deformable image registration algorithm is used to compute the image motion from the CT segments to a common full volume 3D-CT reference. This reference volume is reconstructed using the acquired 4D-CT data at the end-of-exhalation phase. The segments are optimally aligned to the reference volume according to a proposed a priori alignment procedure. The registration is applied using a multigrid approach and a feature-preserving image downsampling maxfilter to achieve better computational speed and higher registration accuracy. The registration accuracy is about 1.1±0.8mm for the lung region according to our verification using manually selected landmarks and artificially deformed CT volumes. The estimated motion fields are fitted to two 5D (spatial 3D+tidal volume+airflow rate) motion models: forward model and inverse model. The forward model predicts tissue movements and the inverse model predicts CT density changes as a function of tidal volume and airflow rate. A leave-one-out procedure is used to validate these motion models. The estimated modeling prediction errors are about 0.3mm for the forward model and 0.4mm for the inverse model.