Radiation imaging physics
Evaluation of intrinsic respiratory signal determination methods for 4D CBCT adapted for mice
4D CT imaging in mice is important in a variety of areas including studies of lung function and tumor motion. A necessary step in 4D imaging is obtaining a respiratory signal, which can be done through an external system or intrinsically through the projection images. A number of methods have been developed that can successfully determine the respiratory signal from cone-beam projection images of humans, however only a few have been utilized in a preclinical setting and most of these rely on step-and-shoot style imaging. The purpose of this work is to assess and make adaptions of several successful methods developed for humans for an image-guided preclinical radiation therapy system.
Respiratory signals were determined from the projection images of free-breathing mice scanned on the X-RAD system using four methods: the so-called Amsterdam shroud method, a method based on the phase of the Fourier transform, a pixel intensity method, and a center of mass method. The Amsterdam shroud method was modified so the sharp inspiration peaks associated with anesthetized mouse breathing could be detected. Respiratory signals were used to sort projections into phase bins and 4D images were reconstructed. Error and standard deviation in the assignment of phase bins for the four methods compared to a manual method considered to be ground truth were calculated for a range of region of interest (ROI) sizes. Qualitative comparisons were additionally made between the 4D images obtained using each of the methods and the manual method.
4D images were successfully created for all mice with each of the respiratory signal extraction methods. Only minimal qualitative differences were noted between each of the methods and the manual method. The average error (and standard deviation) in phase bin assignment was 0.24 ± 0.08 (0.49 ± 0.11) phase bins for the Fourier transform method, 0.09 ± 0.03 (0.31 ± 0.08) phase bins for the modified Amsterdam shroud method, 0.09 ± 0.02 (0.33 ± 0.07) phase bins for the intensity method, and 0.37 ± 0.10 (0.57 ± 0.08) phase bins for the center of mass method. Little dependence on ROI size was noted for the modified Amsterdam shroud and intensity methods while the Fourier transform and center of mass methods showed a noticeable dependence on the ROI size.
The modified Amsterdam shroud, Fourier transform, and intensity respiratory signal methods are sufficiently accurate to be used for 4D imaging on the X-RAD system and show improvement over the existing center of mass method. The intensity and modified Amsterdam shroud methods are recommended due to their high accuracy and low dependence on ROI size.