Methods: Anatomical 1H and functional 3He MRI were acquired in 5 healthy asymptomatic ex-smokers and 7 ex-smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at inspiration breath-hold. Thoracic CT was performed within ten minutes of MRI using the same breath-hold volume. Landmark-based affine registration methods previously validated for imaging of COPD, was based on corresponding fiducial markers located in both CT and 1H MRI coronal slices and compared with shape-based CT-MRI non-rigid registration. Shape-based CT-MRI registration was developed by first identifying the shapes of the lung cavities manually, and then registering the two shapes using affine and thin-plate spline algorithms. We compared registration accuracy using the fiducial localization error (FLE) and target registration error (TRE).
Results: For landmark-based registration, the TRE was 8.4±5.3 mm for whole lung and 7.8±4.6 mm for the R and L lungs registered independently (p=0.4). For shape-based registration, the TRE was 8.0±4.6 mm for whole lung as compared to 6.9±4.4 mm for the R and L lung registered independently and this difference was significant (p=0.01). The difference for shape-based (6.9±4.4 mm) and landmark-based R and L lung registration (7.8±4.6 mm) was also significant (p=.04)
Conclusion: Shape-based registration TRE was significantly improved compared to landmark-based registration when considering L and R lungs independently.