In vitro evaluation of the imaging accuracy of C-arm conebeam CT in cerebral perfusion imaging.

The authors have developed a method to enable cerebral perfusion CT imaging using C-arm based conebeam CT (CBCT). This allows intraprocedural monitoring of brain perfusion during treatment of stroke. Briefly, the technique consists of acquiring multiple scans (each scan comprised of six sweeps) acquired at different time delays with respect to the start of the x-ray contrast agent injection. The projections are then reconstructed into angular blocks and interpolated at desired time points. The authors have previously demonstrated its feasibility in vivo using an animal model. In this paper, the authors describe an in vitro technique to evaluate the accuracy of their method for measuring the relevant temporal signals.
The authors' evaluation method is based on the concept that any temporal signal can be represented by a Fourier series of weighted sinusoids. A sinusoidal phantom was developed by varying the concentration of iodine as successive steps of a sine wave. Each step corresponding to a different dilution of iodine contrast solution contained in partitions along a cylinder. By translating the phantom along the axis at different velocities, sinusoidal signals at different frequencies were generated. Using their image acquisition and reconstruction algorithm, these sinusoidal signals were imaged with a C-arm system and the 3D volumes were reconstructed. The average value in a slice was plotted as a function of time. The phantom was also imaged using a clinical CT system with 0.5 s rotation. C-arm CBCT results using 6, 3, 2, and 1 scan sequences were compared to those obtained using CT. Data were compared for linear velocities of the phantom ranging from 0.6 to 1 cm∕s. This covers the temporal frequencies up to 0.16 Hz corresponding to a frequency range within which 99% of the spectral energy for all temporal signals in cerebral perfusion imaging is contained.
The errors in measurement of temporal frequencies are mostly below 2% for all multiscan sequences. For single scan sequences, the errors increase sharply beyond 0.10 Hz. The amplitude errors increase with frequency and with decrease in the number of scans used.
Our multiscan perfusion CT approach allows low errors in signal frequency measurement. Increasing the number of scans reduces the amplitude errors. A two-scan sequence appears to offer the best compromise between accuracy and the associated total x-ray and iodine dose.