The development and evaluation of a prototype cardiac gating system for double-shot dual-energy (DE) imaging is described. By acquiring both low- and high-kVp images during the resting phase of the cardiac cycle (diastole), heart misalignment between images can be reduced, thereby decreasing the magnitude of cardiac motion artifacts. For this initial implementation, a fingertip pulse oximeter was employed to measure the peripheral pulse waveform ('plethysmogram'), offering potential logistic, cost and workflow advantages compared to an electrocardiogram. A gating method was developed that accommodates temporal delays due to physiological pulse propagation, oximeter waveform processing and the imaging system (software, filter-wheel, anti-scatter Bucky-grid and flat-panel detector). Modeling the diastolic period allowed the calculation of an implemented delay, timp, required to trigger correctly during diastole at any patient heart rate (HR). The model suggests a triggering scheme characterized by two HR regimes, separated by a threshold, HRthresh. For rates at or below HRthresh, sufficient time exists to expose on the same heartbeat as the plethysmogram pulse [t imp(HR) = 0]. Above HRthresh, a characteristic t imp(HR) delays exposure to the subsequent heartbeat, accounting for all fixed and variable system delays. Performance was evaluated in terms of accuracy and precision of diastole-trigger coincidence and quantitative evaluation of artifact severity in gated and ungated DE images. Initial implementation indicated 85% accuracy in diastole-trigger coincidence. Through the identification of an improved HR estimation method (modified temporal smoothing of the oximeter waveform), trigger accuracy of 100% could be achieved with improved precision. To quantify the effect of the gating system on DE image quality, human observer tests were conducted to measure the magnitude of cardiac artifact under conditions of successful and unsuccessful diastolic gating. Six observers independently measured the artifact in 111 patient DE images. The data indicate that successful diastolic gating results in a statistically significant reduction (p < 0.001) in the magnitude of cardiac motion artifact, with residual artifact attributed primarily to gross patient motion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging