TH-C-18A-11: Investigating the Minimum Scan Parameters Required to Generate Free-Breathing Fast-Helical CT Scans Without Motion-Artifacts




A recently proposed 4D-CT protocol uses deformable registration of free-breathing fast-helical CT scans to generate a breathing motion model. In order to allow accurate registration, free-breathing images are required to be free of doubling-artifacts, which arise when tissue motion is greater than scan speed. This work identifies the minimum scanner parameters required to successfully generate free-breathing fast-helical scans without doubling-artifacts.


10 patients were imaged under free breathing conditions 25 times in alternating directions with a 64-slice CT scanner using a low dose fast helical protocol. A high temporal resolution (0.1s) 4D-CT was generated using a patient specific motion model and patient breathing waveforms, and used as the input for a scanner simulation. Forward projections were calculated using helical cone-beam geometry (800 projections per rotation) and a GPU accelerated reconstruction algorithm was implemented. Various CT scanner detector widths and rotation times were simulated, and verified using a motion phantom. Doubling-artifacts were quantified in patient images using structural similarity maps to determine the similarity between axial slices.


Increasing amounts of doubling-artifacts were observed with increasing rotation times > 0.2s for 16×1mm slice scan geometry. No significant increase in doubling artifacts was observed for 64×1mm slice scan geometry up to 1.0s rotation time although blurring artifacts were observed >0.6s. Using a 16×1mm slice scan geometry, a rotation time of less than 0.3s (53mm/s scan speed) would be required to produce images of similar quality to a 64×1mm slice scan geometry.


The current generation of 16 slice CT scanners, which are present in most Radiation Oncology departments, are not capable of generating free-breathing sorting-artifact-free images in the majority of patients. The next generation of CT scanners should be capable of at least 53mm/s scan speed in order to use a fast-helical 4D-CT protocol to generate a motion-artifact free 4D-CT.

NIH R01CA096679