Radiation imaging physics
Characteristic image quality of a third generation dual-source MDCT scanner: Noise, resolution, and detectability
The purpose of this work was to assess the inherent image quality characteristics of a new multidetector computed tomography system in terms of noise, resolution, and detectability index as a function of image acquisition and reconstruction for a range of clinically relevant settings.
A multisized image quality phantom (37, 30, 23, 18.5, and 12 cm physical diameter) was imaged on a SOMATOM Force scanner (Siemens Medical Solutions) under variable dose, kVp, and tube current modulation settings. Images were reconstructed with filtered back projection (FBP) and with advanced modeled iterative reconstruction (ADMIRE) with iterative strengths of 3, 4, and 5. Image quality was assessed in terms of the noise power spectrum (NPS), task transfer function (TTF), and detectability index for a range of detection tasks (contrasts of approximately 45, 90, 300, −900, and 1000 HU, and 2–20 mm diameter) based on a non-prewhitening matched filter model observer with eye filter.
Image noise magnitude decreased with decreasing phantom size, increasing dose, and increasing ADMIRE strength, offering up to 64% noise reduction relative to FBP. Noise texture in terms of the NPS was similar between FBP and ADMIRE (<5% shift in peak frequency). The resolution, based on the TTF, improved with increased ADMIRE strength by an average of 15% in the TTF 50% frequency for ADMIRE-5. The detectability index increased with increasing dose and ADMIRE strength by an average of 55%, 90%, and 163% for ADMIRE 3, 4, and 5, respectively. Assessing the impact of mA modulation for a fixed average dose over the length of the phantom, detectability was up to 49% lower in smaller phantom sections and up to 26% higher in larger phantom sections for the modulated scan compared to a fixed tube current scan. Overall, the detectability exhibited less variability with phantom size for modulated scans compared to fixed tube current scans.
Image quality increased with increasing dose and decreasing phantom size. The CT system exhibited nonlinear noise and resolution properties, especially at very low-doses, large phantom sizes, and for low-contrast objects. Objective image quality metrics generally increased with increasing dose and ADMIRE strength, and with decreasing phantom size. The ADMIRE algorithm could offer comparable image quality at reduced doses or improved image quality at the same dose. The use of tube current modulation resulted in more consistent image quality with changing phantom size.