Purpose: Elastography using computer tomography (CT) is a promising methodology that can provide patient-specific regional distributions of lung biomechanical properties. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the feasibility of performing elastography using simulated lower dose CT scans. Methods: A cohort of eight patient CT image pairs were acquired with a tube current–time product of 40 mAs for estimating baseline lung elastography results. Synthetic low mAs CT scans were generated from the baseline scans to simulate the additional noise that would be present in acquisitions at 30, 25, and 20 mAs, respectively. For the simulated low mAs scans, exhalation and inhalation datasets were registered using an in-house optical flow deformable image registration algorithm. The registered deformation vector fields (DVFs) were taken to be ground truth for the elastography process. A model-based elasticity estimation was performed for each of the reduced mAs datasets, in which the goal was to optimize the elasticity distribution that best represented their respective DVFs. The estimated elasticity and the DVF distributions of the reduced mAs scans were then compared with the baseline elasticity results for quantitative accuracy purposes. Results: The DVFs for the low mAs and baseline scans differed from each other by an average of 1.41 mm, which can be attributed to the noise added by the simulated reduction in mAs. However, the elastography results using the DVFs from the reduced mAs scans were similar from the baseline results, with an average elasticity difference of 0.65, 0.71, and 0.76 kPa, respectively. This illustrates that elastography can provide equivalent results using low-dose CT scans. Conclusions: Elastography can be performed equivalently using CT image pairs acquired with as low as 20 mAs. This expands the potential applications of CT-based elastography.
- low-dose CT
- lung elastography
- simulated noise
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging