• Can image enhancement allow radiation dose to be reduced whilst maintaining the perceived diagnostic image quality required for coronary angiography?

      Joshi, A.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Sivananthan, U.M.; Davies, A.G. (2017-03-03)
      Digital image processing used in modern cardiac interventional x-ray systems may have the potential to enhance image quality such that it allows for lower radiation doses. The aim of this research was to quantify the reduction in radiation dose facilitated by image processing alone for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patient angiograms, without reducing the perceived image quality required to confidently make a diagnosis. Incremental amounts of image noise were added to five PCI patient angiograms, simulating the angiogram having been acquired at corresponding lower dose levels (by 10-89% dose reduction). Sixteen observers with relevant background and experience scored the image quality of these angiograms in three states - with no image processing and with two different modern image processing algorithms applied; these algorithms are used on state-of-the-art and previous generation cardiac interventional x-ray systems. Ordinal regression allowing for random effects and the delta method were used to quantify the dose reduction allowed for by the processing algorithms, for equivalent image quality scores. The dose reductions [with 95% confidence interval] from the state-of-the-art and previous generation image processing relative to no processing were 24.9% [18.8- 31.0%] and 15.6% [9.4-21.9%] respectively. The dose reduction enabled by the state-of-the-art image processing relative to previous generation processing was 10.3% [4.4-16.2%]. This demonstrates that statistically significant dose reduction can be facilitated with no loss in perceived image quality using modern image enhancement; the most recent processing algorithm was more effective in preserving image quality at lower doses.
    • How much image noise can be added in cardiac x-ray imaging without loss in perceived image quality?

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Kumcu, A.; Kengyelics, S.M.; Rhodes, L.A.; Davies, A.G. (2015-03)
      Dynamic X-ray imaging systems are used for interventional cardiac procedures to treat coronary heart disease. X-ray settings are controlled automatically by specially-designed X-ray dose control mechanisms whose role is to ensure an adequate level of image quality is maintained with an acceptable radiation dose to the patient. Current commonplace dose control designs quantify image quality by performing a simple technical measurement directly from the image. However, the utility of cardiac X-ray images is in their interpretation by a cardiologist during an interventional procedure, rather than in a technical measurement. With the long term goal of devising a clinically-relevant image quality metric for an intelligent dose control system, we aim to investigate the relationship of image noise with clinical professionals’ perception of dynamic image sequences. Computer-generated noise was added, in incremental amounts, to angiograms of five different patients selected to represent the range of adult cardiac patient sizes. A two alternative forced choice staircase experiment was used to determine the amount of noise which can be added to a patient image sequences without changing image quality as perceived by clinical professionals. Twenty-five viewing sessions (five for each patient) were completed by thirteen observers. Results demonstrated scope to increase the noise of cardiac X-ray images by up to 21% ± 8% before it is noticeable by clinical professionals. This indicates a potential for 21% radiation dose reduction since X-ray image noise and radiation dose are directly related; this would be beneficial to both patients and personnel.