SU-D-12A-05: Iterative Reconstruction Techniques to Enable Intrinsic Respiratory Gated CT in Mice




Longitudinal studies of lung function in mice need the ability to image different phases of ventilation in free-breathing mice using retrospective gating. However, retrospective gating often produces under-sampled and uneven angular samples, resulting in severe reconstruction artifacts when using traditional FDK based reconstruction algorithms. We wanted to demonstrate the utility of iterative reconstruction method to enable intrinsic respiratory gating in small-animal CT.


Free-breathing mice were imaged using a Siemens Inveon PET/micro-CT system. Evenly distributed projection images were acquired at 360 angles. Retrospective respiratory gating was performed using an intrinsic marker based on the average intensity in a region covering the diaphragm. Projections were classified into 4 and 6 phases (finer temporal resolution) resulting in 138 and 67 projections respectively. Reconstruction was carried out using 3 Methods: conventional FDK, iterative penalized least-square (PWLS) with total variation (TV), and PWLS with edge-preserving penalty. The performance of the methods was compared using contrast-to-noise (CNR) in a region of interest (ROI). Line profile through a specific region was plotted to evaluate the preserving of edges.


In both the cases with 4 and 6 phases, inadequate and non-uniform angular sampling results in artifacts using conventional FDK. However, such artifacts are minimized using both the iterative methods. Using both 4 and 6 phases, the iterative techniques outperformed FDK in terms of CNR and maintaining sharp edges. This is further evidenced especially with increased artifacts using FDK for 6 phases.


This work indicates fewer artifacts and better image details can be achieved with iterative reconstruction methods in non-uniform under-sampled reconstruction. Using iterative methods can enable free-breathing intrinsic respiratory gating in small-animal CT. Further studies are needed to compare the computational complexity for large datasets.