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Intrinsic Respiratory Gating in Small Animal CT

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Y Liu

Y Liu1*, M Smith1 , N Mistry1 , (1) University of Maryland School of Medicine,Baltimore,MD


SU-E-T-217 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose:Preclinical animal models of lung cancer can provide a controlled test-bed for testing dose escalation or function-based-treatment-planning studies. However, to extract lung function, i.e. ventilation, one needs to be able to image the lung at different phases of ventilation (in-hale / ex-hale). Most respiratory-gated imaging using micro-CT involves using an external ventilator and surgical intervention limiting the utility in longitudinal studies. A new intrinsic respiratory retrospective gating method was developed and tested in mice.

Methods:A fixed region of interest (ROI) that covers the diaphragm was selected on all projection images to estimate the mean intensity (M). The mean intensity depends on the projection angle and diaphragm position. A 3-point moving average (A) of consecutive M values: Mpre, Mcurrent and Mpost, was calculated to be subtracted from Mcurrent. A fixed threshold was used to enable amplitude based sorting into 4 different phases of respiration. Images at full-inhale and end-exhale phases of respiration were reconstructed using the open source OSCaR. Lung volumes estimated at the 2 phases of respiration were validated against literature values.

Results:Intrinsic retrospective gating was accomplished without the use of any external breathing waveform. While projection images were acquired at 360 different angles. Only 138 and 104 projections were used to reconstruct images at full-inhale and end-exhale. This often results in non-uniform under-sampled angular projections leading to some minor streaking artifacts. The calculated expiratory, inspiratory and tidal lung volumes correlated well with the values known from the literature.

Conclusion:Our initial result demonstrates an intrinsic gating method that is suitable for flat panel cone beam small animal CT systems. Reduction in streaking artifacts can be accomplished by oversampling the data or using iterative reconstruction methods. This initial experience will enable free-breathing small animal micro-CT imaging to fuel longitudinal studies of lung function.

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