Dose reduction in sequence scanning 4D CT imaging through respiratory signal-guided tube current modulation: A feasibility study

  • Annette Schwarz (Geteilte/r Erstautor/in)
  • René Werner (Geteilte/r Erstautor/in)
  • Lukas Wimmert
  • Marc Vornehm
  • Tobias Gauer
  • Christian Hofmann


BACKGROUND: Respiratory signal-guided 4D CT sequence scanning such as the recently introduced Intelligent 4D CT (i4DCT) approach reduces image artifacts compared to conventional 4D CT, especially for irregular breathing. i4DCT selects beam-on periods during scanning such that data sufficiency conditions are fulfilled for each couch position. However, covering entire breathing cycles during beam-on periods leads to redundant projection data and unnecessary dose to the patient during long exhalation phases.

PURPOSE: We propose and evaluate the feasibility of respiratory signal-guided dose modulation (i.e., temporary reduction of the CT tube current) to reduce the i4DCT imaging dose while maintaining high projection data coverage for image reconstruction.

METHODS: The study is designed as an in-silico feasibility study. Dose down- and up-regulation criteria were defined based on the patients' breathing signals and their representative breathing cycle learned before and during scanning. The evaluation (including an analysis of the impact of the dose modulation criteria parameters) was based on 510 clinical 4D CT breathing curves. Dose reduction was determined as the fraction of the downregulated dose delivery time to the overall beam-on time. Furthermore, under the assumption of a 10-phase 4D CT and amplitude-based reconstruction, beam-on periods were considered negatively affected by dose modulation if the downregulation period covered an entire phase-specific amplitude range for a specific breathing phase (i.e., no appropriate reconstruction of the phase image possible for this specific beam-on period). Corresponding phase-specific amplitude bins are subsequently denoted as compromised bins.

RESULTS: Dose modulation resulted in a median dose reduction of 10.4% (lower quartile: 7.4%, upper quartile: 13.8%, maximum: 28.6%; all values corresponding to a default parameterization of the dose modulation criteria). Compromised bins were observed in 1.0% of the beam-on periods (72 / 7370 periods) and affected 10.6% of the curves (54/510 curves). The extent of possible dose modulation depends strongly on the individual breathing patterns and is weakly correlated with the median breathing cycle length (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.22, p < 0.001). Moreover, the fraction of beam-on periods with compromised bins is weakly anti-correlated with the patient's median breathing cycle length (Spearman correlation coefficient -0.24; p < 0.001). Among the curves with the 17% longest average breathing cycles, no negatively affected beam-on periods were observed.

CONCLUSION: Respiratory signal-guided dose modulation for i4DCT imaging is feasible and promises to significantly reduce the imaging dose with little impact on projection data coverage. However, the impact on image quality remains to be investigated in a follow-up study.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 12.2023

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© 2023 The Authors. Medical Physics published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

PubMed 37831550