The increasing use of small animals in basic research has spurred interest in new imaging methodologies. Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) offers a particularly appealing approach to functional imaging in the small animal. This study examines the optimal x-ray, molybdenum (Mo) or tungsten (W) target sources, and technique to produce the highest quality small animal functional subtraction angiograms in terms of contrast and signal-difference-to-noise ratio squared (SdNR2). Two limiting conditions were considered- normalization with respect to dose and normalization against tube loading. Image contrast and SdNR2 were simulated using an established x-ray model. DSA images of live rats were taken at two representative tube potentials for the W and Mo sources. Results show that for small animal DSA, the Mo source provides better contrast. However, with digital detectors, SdNR2 is the more relevant figure of merit. The W source operated at kVps >60 achieved a higher SdNR2. The highest SdNR2 was obtained at voltages above 90 kVp. However, operation at the higher potential results in significantly greater dose and tube load and reduced contrast quantization. A reasonable tradeoff can be achieved at tube potentials at the beginning of the performance plateau, around 70 kVp, where the relative gain in SdNR2 is the greatest.
- Digital subtraction angiography
- Functional imaging
- Small animal
- Spectra optimization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging