Purpose: Conventional stenosis quantification from single-energy computed tomography (SECT) images relies on segmentation of lumen boundaries, which suffers from partial volume averaging and calcium blooming effects. We present and evaluate a method for quantifying percent area stenosis using multienergy CT (MECT) images.
Approach: We utilize material decomposition of MECT images to measure stenosis based on the ratio of iodine mass between vessel locations with and without a stenosis, thereby eliminating the requirement for segmentation of iodinated lumen. The method was first assessed using simulated MECT images created with different spatial resolutions. To experimentally assess this method, four phantoms with different stenosis severity (30% to 51%), vessel diameters (5.5 to 14 mm), and calcification densities (700 to 1100 mgHA / cc) were fabricated. Conventional SECT images were acquired using a commercial CT system and were analyzed with commercial software. MECT images were acquired using a commercial dual-energy CT (DECT) system and also from a research photon-counting detector CT (PCD-CT) system. Three-material-decomposition was performed on MECT data, and iodine density maps were used to quantify stenosis. Clinical radiation doses were used for all data acquisitions.
Results: Computer simulation verified that this method reduced partial volume and blooming effects, resulting in consistent stenosis measurements. Phantom experiments showed accurate and reproducible stenosis measurements from MECT images. For DECT and two-threshold PCD-CT images, the estimation errors were 4.0% to 7.0%, 2.0% to 9.0%, 10.0% to 18.0%, and −1.0 % to −5.0 % (ground truth: 51%, 51%, 51%, and 30%). For four-threshold PCD-CT images, the errors were 1.0% to 3.0%, 4.0% to 6.0%, −1.0 % to 9.0%, and 0.0% to 6.0%. Errors using SECT were much larger, ranging from 4.4% to 46%, and were especially worse in the presence of dense calcifications.
Conclusions: The proposed approach was shown to be insensitive to acquisition parameters, demonstrating the potential to improve the accuracy and precision of stenosis measurements in clinical practice.