A study to improve the image quality in low-dose computed tomography (SPECT) using filtration.
ABSTRACT The output of the X-ray tube used in computed tomography (CT) provides a spectrum of photon energies. Low-energy photons are preferentially absorbed in tissue; the beam spectrum shifts toward the higher energy end as it passes through more tissue, thereby changing its effective attenuation coefficient and producing a variety of artifacts (beam-hardening effects) in images. Filtering of the beam may be used to remove low-energy photon component. The accuracy of attenuation coefficient calculation by bilinear model depends highly upon accuracy of Hounsfield units. Therefore, we have made an attempt to minimize the beam-hardening effects using additional copper filter in the X-ray beam. The quantitative evaluation were made to see the effect of additional filters on resulting CT images.
This study was performed on dual-head SPECT (HAWKEYE 4, GE Healthcare) with low-dose CT which acquires images at peak voltages of 120/140 kV and a tube current of 2.5 mA. For the evaluation of image quality, we used CT QA Phantom (PHILIPS) having six different density pins of Water, Polyethylene, Nylon (Aculon), Lexan, Acrylic (Perspex) and Teflon. The axial images were acquired using copper filters of various thicknesses ranging from 1 to 5 mm in steps of 1 mm. The copper filter was designed in such a manner that it fits exactly on the collimator cover of CT X-ray tube. Appropriate fixation of the copper filter was ensured before starting the image acquisition. As our intention was only to see the effect of beam hardening on the attenuation map, no SPECT study was performed. First set of images was acquired without putting any filter into the beam. Then, successively, filters of different thicknesses were placed into the beam and calibration of the CT scanner was performed before acquiring the images. The X-ray tube parameters were kept the same as that of unfiltered X-ray beam. All the acquired image sets were displayed using Xeleris 2 (GE Healthcare) on a high-resolution monitor. Moreover, Jaszak's SPECT Phantom after removing the spheres was used to see the different contrast intensities by inserting the different contrast materials of iodine and bismuth in water as background media. Images were analyzed for visibility, spatial resolution and contrast.
Successive improvement in the image quality was noticed when we increased the filter thickness from 1 to 3 mm. The images acquired with 3-mm filter appeared almost with no artifacts and were visibly sharper. Lower energy photons from X-ray beam cause a number of artifacts, especially at bone-tissue interfaces. Additional filtrations removed lower energy photons and improved the image quality. Degradation in the image quality was noticed when we increased the filter thickness further to 4 and 5 mm. This degradation in image quality happened due to reduced photon flux of the resulting X-ray beam, causing high statistical noise. The spatial resolution for image matrix of 512 × 512 was found to be 1.29, 1.07, 0.64 and 0.54 mm for without filter, with 1, 2 and 3 mm filters, respectively. The image quality was further analyzed for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). It was found to be 1.72, 1.78, 1.98 and 1.99 for open, with 1, 2 and 3 mm filters respectively. This shows that 3-mm filter results in an improvement of 15.7% in SNR.
On the basis of this study, we could conclude that use of 3-mm copper filter in the X-ray beam is optimal for removing the artifacts without causing any significant reduction in the photon flux of the resulting X-ray beam. We also propose that as artifacts have been removed from the images, the value of Hounsfield units will be more accurate and hence the value of attenuation coefficients lead to better contrast and visualization of SPECT images.
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ABSTRACT: A scanning collimated line source for simultaneously acquiring emission and transmission data from a gamma camera has been developed. The line source is microprocessor-controlled and incorporates hardware to electronically window the spatial gamma camera signals in order to separate the emission signals of the subject from transmission signals from the line source. The device improves upon the previously described emission-transmission scanning technique using a flood source in three ways: (1) it overcomes the limitation that the transmission radionuclide must have a lower energy than the emission radionuclide; (2) it provides narrow-beam (scatter free) attenuation measurements of the subject being examined; and (3) it reduces the radiation exposure to staff. Attenuation coefficients for an elliptocal water-filled phantom were measured to be mu = 0.15 +/- 0.01 cm-1. The technique has been validated in phantom and human studies using a range of radionuclide combinations and imaging geometries and gives equivalent results using separate and simultaneous acquisitions.Journal of Nuclear Medicine 11/1993; 34(10):1752-60. · 5.77 Impact Factor
- Acta radiologica. Supplementum 02/1980; 363:1-75.
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ABSTRACT: To evaluate protocols for abdominal imaging with an eight-element multi-detector row computed tomographic (CT) scanner. An eight-element helical CT scanner was used to acquire data in two phantoms with four-element (pitch, 0.75 and 1.5; section thickness, 1.25, 2.5, and 5.0 mm) and eight-element (pitch, 0.625, 0.875, 1.35 and 1.675; section thickness, 1.25 and 2.5 mm) protocols. One phantom was used for low-contrast detectability and streak artifact; the other, for high-contrast performance. Protocols included near constant radiation dose (140 kV and varied tube current, confirmed by using the above protocols to scan a dedicated radiation dose phantom). Data were analyzed by three blinded readers for streak artifacts, contrast-to-noise ratio, and z-axis resolution (contrast-transfer function). Statistical analysis included studentized range tests. Contrast-to-noise ratios for four and eight elements were not consistently different. Qualitative evaluation for streak artifacts revealed fewer artifacts for all eight-element 1.25-mm-thick section protocols, as compared with eight-element 2.5-mm protocols. All eight-element 2.5-mm protocols except that with 27.0 mm per rotation had fewer streak artifacts than did four-element protocols (P =.02-.04). Contrast-transfer functions along the z axis for eight-element protocols were better than those for four-element protocols, demonstrating improved z-axis resolution (P <.05). Images acquired at eight sections per rotation demonstrated no sacrifice of contrast-to-noise ratio, improved z-axis resolution, and fewer streak artifacts, even when radiation dose was similar to that for four-element CT.Radiology 06/2003; 227(3):739-45. · 6.34 Impact Factor