• Context sensitive cardiac x-ray imaging: a machine vision approach to x-ray dose control

      Kengyelics, S.M.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Keeble, C.; Magee, D.R.; Davies, A.G. (2015-09)
      Modern cardiac x-ray imaging systems regulate their radiation output based on the thickness of the patient to maintain an acceptable signal at the input of the x-ray detector. This approach does not account for the context of the examination or the content of the image displayed. We have developed a machine vision algorithm that detects iodine-filled blood vessels and fits an idealized vessel model with the key parameters of contrast, diameter, and linear attenuation coefficient. The spatio-temporal distribution of the linear attenuation coefficient samples, when appropriately arranged, can be described by a simple linear relationship, despite the complexity of scene information. The algorithm was tested on static anthropomorphic chest phantom images under different radiographic factors and 60 dynamic clinical image sequences. It was found to be robust and sensitive to changes in vessel contrast resulting from variations in system parameters. The machine vision algorithm has the potential of extracting real-time context sensitive information that may be used for augmenting existing dose control strategies.
    • Dose assessment of digital tomosynthesis in pediatric imaging

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Elbakri, I.A.; Reed, M. (2009-03)
      We investigated the potential for digital tomosynthesis (DT) to reduce pediatric x-ray dose while maintaining image quality. We utilized the DT feature (VolumeRadTM) on the GE DefiniumTM 8000 flat panel system installed in the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. Facial bones, cervical spine, thoracic spine, and knee of children aged 5, 10, and 15 years were represented by acrylic phantoms for DT dose measurements. Effective dose was estimated for DT and for corresponding digital radiography (DR) and computed tomography (CT) patient image sets. Anthropomorphic phantoms of selected body parts were imaged by DR, DT, and CT. Pediatric radiologists rated visualization of selected anatomic features in these images. Dose and image quality comparisons between DR, DT, and CT determined the usefulness of tomosynthesis for pediatric imaging. CT effective dose was highest; total DR effective dose was not always lowest – depending how many projections were in the DR image set. For the cervical spine, DT dose was close to and occasionally lower than DR dose. Expert radiologists rated visibility of the central facial complex in a skull phantom as better than DR and comparable to CT. Digital tomosynthesis has a significantly lower dose than CT. This study has demonstrated DT shows promise to replace CT for some facial bones and spinal diagnoses. Other clinical applications will be evaluated in the future.
    • Dose optimization in cardiac x-ray imaging

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; McMillan, C.; Cowen, A.R.; Davies, A.G. (2013-09)
      Purpose: The aim of this research was to optimize x-ray image quality to dose ratios in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. This study examined independently the effects of peak x-ray tube voltage (kVp), copper (Cu), and gadolinium (Gd) x-ray beam filtration on the image quality to radiation dose balance for adult patient sizes. Methods: Image sequences of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) phantoms representing two adult patient sizes were captured using a modern flat panel detector based x-ray imaging system. Tin and copper test details were used to simulate iodine-based contrast medium and stents/guide wires respectively, which are used in clinical procedures. Noise measurement for a flat field image and test detail contrast were used to calculate the contrast to noise ratio (CNR). Entrance surface dose (ESD) and effective dose measurements were obtained to calculate the figure of merit (FOM), CNR2/dose. This FOM determined the dose efficiency of x-ray spectra investigated. Images were captured with 0.0, 0.1, 0.25, 0.4, and 0.9 mm Cu filtration and with a range of gadolinium oxysulphide (Gd2O2S) filtration. Results: Optimum x-ray spectra were the same for the tin and copper test details. Lower peak tube voltages were generally favored. For the 20 cm phantom, using 2 Lanex Fast Back Gd2O2S screens as x-ray filtration at 65 kVp provided the highest FOM considering ESD and effective dose. Considering ESD, this FOM was only marginally larger than that from using 0.4 mm Cu at 65 kVp. For the 30 cm phantom, using 0.25 mm copper filtration at 80 kVp was most optimal; considering effective dose the FOM was highest with no filtration at 65 kVp. Conclusions: These settings, adjusted for x-ray tube loading limits and clinically acceptable image quality, should provide a useful option for optimizing patient dose to image quality in cardiac x-ray imaging. The same optimal x-ray beam spectra were found for both the tin and copper details, suggesting that iodine contrast based imaging and visualization of interventional devices could potentially be optimized for dose using similar x-ray beam spectra.
    • Dose optimization in pediatric cardiac x-ray imaging

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Davies, A.G.; Cowen, A.R. (2010-10)
      Purpose: The aim of this research was to explore x-ray beam parameters with intent to optimize pediatric x-ray settings in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. This study examined the effects of peak x-ray tube voltage kVp and of copper Cu x-ray beam filtration independently on the image quality to dose balance for pediatric patient sizes. The impact of antiscatter grid removal on the image quality to dose balance was also investigated. Methods: Image sequences of polymethyl methacrylate phantoms approximating chest sizes typical of pediatric patients were captured using a modern flat-panel receptor based x-ray imaging system. Tin was used to simulate iodine-based contrast medium used in clinical procedures. Measurements of tin detail contrast and flat field image noise provided the contrast to noise ratio. Entrance surface dose ESD and effective dose E measurements were obtained to calculate the figure of merit FOM , CNR2 / dose, which evaluated the dose efficiency of the x-ray parameters investigated. The kVp, tube current mA , and pulse duration were set manually by overriding the system’s automatic dose control mechanisms. Images were captured with 0, 0.1, 0.25, 0.4, and 0.9 mm added Cu filtration, for 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 kVp with the antiscatter grid in place, and then with it removed. Results: For a given phantom thickness, as the Cu filter thickness was increased, lower kVp was favored. Examining kVp alone, lower values were generally favored, more so for thinner phantoms. Considering ESD, the 8.5 cm phantom had the highest FOM at 50 kVp using 0.4 mm of Cu filtration. The 12 cm phantom had the highest FOM at 55 kVp using 0.9 mm Cu, and the 16 cm phantom had highest FOM at 55 kVp using 0.4 mm Cu. With regard to E, the 8.5 and 12 cm phantoms had the highest FOM at 50 kVp using 0.4 mm of Cu filtration, and the 16 cm phantom had the highest FOM at 50 kVp using 0.25 mm Cu. Antiscatter grid removal improved the FOM for a given set of x-ray conditions. Under aforesaid optimal settings, the 8.5 cm phantom FOM improved by 24% and 33% for ESD and E, respectively. Corresponding improvements were 26% and 24% for the 12 cm phantom and 6% and 15% for the 16 cm phantom. Conclusions: For pediatric patients, using 0.25–0.9 mm Cu filtration in the x-ray beam while maintaining 50–55 kVp, depending on patient size, provided optimal x-ray image quality to dose ratios. These settings, adjusted for x-ray tube loading limits and clinically acceptable image quality, should provide a useful strategy for optimizing iodine contrast agent based cardiac x-ray imaging. Removing the antiscatter grid improved the FOM for the 8.5 and 12 cm phantoms, therefore grid removal is recommended for younger children. Improvement for the 16 cm phantom declined into the estimated margin of error for the FOM; the need for grid removal for older children would depend on practical feasibility in the clinical environment.
    • Evaluating the potential for cone beam CT to improve the suspected scaphoid fracture pathway: InSPECTED - A single-centre feasibility study

      Snaith, Beverly; Harris, M.; Hughes, J.; Spencer, N.; Shinkins, B.; Tachibana, A.; Bessant, G.; Robertshaw, S. (2022-03)
      The suspected scaphoid fracture remains a diagnostic conundrum with over-treatment a common risk-averse strategy. Cross-sectional imaging remains the gold standard with MRI recommended but CT used by some because of easier access or limited MRI availability. The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate whether cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) could support early diagnosis, or exclusion, of scaphoid fractures. Patients with a suspected scaphoid were recruited fracture between March and July 2020. All underwent a 4-view X-ray. If this examination was normal, they were immediately referred for a CBCT scan of the wrist. Those with a normal scan were discharged to research follow-up at 2 and 6-weeks. 68 participants were recruited, 55 had a normal or equivocal X-ray and underwent CBCT. Nine additional radiocarpal fractures (16.2%) were demonstrated on CBCT, the remainder were discharged to research follow-up. Based on the 2-week and 6-week follow up three patients (4.4%) were referred for MRI to investigate persistent symptoms with no bony injuries identified. CBCT scans enabled a rapid pathway for the diagnosis or exclusion of scaphoid fractures, identifying other fractures and facilitating early treatment. The rapid pathway also enabled those with no bony injury to start rehabilitation, suggesting that patients can be safely discharged with safety-net advice following a CBCT scan.
    • Image quality based x-ray dose control in cardiac imaging

      Davies, A.G.; Kengyelics, S.M.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J. (2015-03)
      An automated closed-loop dose control system balances the radiation dose delivered to patients and the quality of images produced in cardiac x-ray imaging systems. Using computer simulations, this study compared two designs of automatic x-ray dose control in terms of the radiation dose and quality of images produced. The first design, commonly in x-ray systems today, maintained a constant dose rate at the image receptor. The second design maintained a constant image quality in the output images. A computer model represented patients as a polymethylmetacrylate phantom (which has similar x-ray attenuation to soft tissue), containing a detail representative of an artery filled with contrast medium. The model predicted the entrance surface dose to the phantom and contrast to noise ratio of the detail as an index of image quality. Results showed that for the constant dose control system, phantom dose increased substantially with phantom size (x5 increase between 20 cm and 30 cm thick phantom), yet the image quality decreased by 43% for the same thicknesses. For the constant quality control, phantom dose increased at a greater rate with phantom thickness (>x10 increase between 20 cm and 30 cm phantom). Image quality based dose control could tailor the x-ray output to just achieve the quality required, which would reduce dose to patients where the current dose control produces images of too high quality. However, maintaining higher levels of image quality for large patients would result in a significant dose increase over current practice.
    • Machine vision image quality measurement in cardiac x-ray imaging

      Kengyelics, S.M.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Keeble, C.; Magee, D.; Davies, A.G. (2015-03)
      The purpose of this work is to report on a machine vision approach for the automated measurement of x-ray image contrast of coronary arteries lled with iodine contrast media during interventional cardiac procedures. A machine vision algorithm was developed that creates a binary mask of the principal vessels of the coronary artery tree by thresholding a standard deviation map of the direction image of the cardiac scene derived using a Frangi lter. Using the mask, average contrast is calculated by tting a Gaussian model to the greyscale pro le orthogonal to the vessel centre line at a number of points along the vessel. The algorithm was applied to sections of single image frames from 30 left and 30 right coronary artery image sequences from di erent patients. Manual measurements of average contrast were also performed on the same images. A Bland-Altman analysis indicates good agreement between the two methods with 95% con dence intervals -0.046 to +0.048 with a mean bias of 0.001. The machine vision algorithm has the potential of providing real-time context sensitive information so that radiographic imaging control parameters could be adjusted on the basis of clinically relevant image content.
    • Noise estimation in cardiac x-ray imaging: a machine vision approach

      Kengyelics, S.M.; Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Keeble, C.; Magee, D.R.; Davies, A.G. (2016-12-16)
      We propose a method to automatically parameterize noise in cardiac x-ray image sequences. The aim was to provide context-sensitive imaging information for use in regulating dose control feedback systems that relates to the experience of human observers. The algorithm locates and measures noise contained in areas of approximately equal signal level. A single noise metric is derived from the dominant noise components based on their magnitude and spatial location in relation to clinically relevant structures. The output of the algorithm was compared to noise and clinical acceptability ratings from 28 observers viewing 40 different cardiac x-ray imaging sequences. Results show good agreement and that the algorithm has the potential to augment existing control strategies to deliver x-ray dose to the patient on an individual basis.
    • Technical Note: Impact on detective quantum efficiency of edge angle determination method by International Electrotechnical Commission methodology for cardiac x-ray image detectors

      Gislason-Lee, Amber J.; Tunstall, C.M.; Kengyelics, S.K.; Cowen, A.R.; Davies, A.G. (2015-08)
      Purpose: Cardiac x-ray detectors are used to acquire moving images in real-time for angiography and interventional procedures. Detective quantum efficiency (DQE) is not generally measured on these dynamic detectors; the required “for processing” image data and control of x-ray settings have not been accessible. By 2016, USA hospital physicists will have the ability to measure DQE and will likely utilize the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard for measuring DQE of dynamic x-ray imaging devices. The current IEC standard requires an image of a tilted tungsten edge test object to obtain modulation transfer function (MTF) for DQE calculation. It specifies the range of edge angles to use; however, it does not specify a preferred method to determine this angle for image analysis. The study aimed to answer the question “will my choice in method impact my results?” Four different established edge angle determination methods were compared to investigate the impact on DQE. Methods: Following the IEC standard, edge and flat field images were acquired on a cardiac flat-panel detector to calculate MTF and noise power spectrum, respectively, to determine DQE. Accuracy of the methods in determining the correct angle was ascertained using a simulated edge image with known angulations. Precision of the methods was ascertained using variability of MTF and DQE, calculated via bootstrapping. Results: Three methods provided near equal angles and the same MTF while the fourth, with an angular difference of 6%, had a MTF lower by 3% at 1.5 mm−1 spatial frequency and 8% at 2.5 mm−1; corresponding DQE differences were 6% at 1.5 mm−1 and 17% at 2.5 mm−1; differences were greater than standard deviations in the measurements. Conclusions: DQE measurements may vary by a significant amount, depending on the method used to determine the edge angle when following the IEC standard methodology for a cardiac x-ray detector. The most accurate and precise methods are recommended for absolute assessments and reproducible measurements, respectively.
    • Trauma imaging in and out of conflict: A review of the evidence.

      Beck, Jamie J.W. (2012)
      Aim To review the recent evidence that has resulted from experiences in and out of conflict in relation to improving imaging in cases of major trauma. Method A search of electronic databases, the internet and Cochrane library was undertaken to identify relevant publications which were analysed in terms of quality. Evidence that has emerged from civilian and military practice that could influence the practice of major trauma imaging in future was discussed. Results The importance of speed in assessing patients suffering major trauma is becoming more recognised. There is growing evidence that the use of portable ultrasound at the site of major trauma as first line investigation has potential. In more stable patients, the evidence for whole body CT at the expense of radiography is also growing. The concern regarding availability and radiation dose related to CT scanning remain significant but with the outcome of the recent Major Trauma Review and improvements in CT scanning techniques, such concerns are being addressed. There is limited research in the use of MRI in relation to major trauma. Conclusion Ultrasound at the sight of major trauma has potential but further research will be needed. Factors such as operator training in particular need to be considered. CT scanning remains an important diagnostic tool for patients suffering major trauma and this is borne out by the Major Trauma Review and NICE guidelines. The availability of CT scanning in relation to accident and emergency scanning is a factor the Major Trauma Review has highlighted and the close proximity of new CT scanners to accident and emergency is a factor that will need to be taken into account in strategic planning. Given the growing evidence of CT involvement, the continued practice of cervical spine and pelvic radiography in cases of major trauma should be questioned.
    • Variation in pelvic radiography practice: Why can we not standardise image acquisition techniques?

      Snaith, Beverly; Field, L.; Lewis, E.F.; Flintham, K. (2019-11)
      Introduction: Pelvic radiographs remain an essential investigation in orthopaedic practice. Although it is recognised that acquisition techniques can affect image appearances and measurement accuracy, it remains unclear what variation in practice exists and what impact this could have on decision making. Method: This was a cross sectional survey of UK radiology departments utilising an electronic tool. An introductory letter and link was distributed. Responses were received from 69 unique hospital sites within the specified timeframe, a response rate of 37.9%. Results: There was no consistent technique for the positioning of patients for pelvic radiographs. The distance varied between 90 and 115 cm and 10 different centering points were described. In relation to leg position, the feet are usually internally rotated (65 of 69 [94.2%]). Only 1 teaching hospital (1 of 69 [1.4%]) uses a weight-bearing position as standard. Orthopaedic calibration devices were not in routine use, with only 21 using on pelvic x-rays (30.4%). Further, the type of device and application criteria were inconsistent. Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first study to directly compare radiographic positioning across hospital sites. Our data demonstrated marked variation in technique for pelvis radiographs with associated implications for clinical decision making. Research is required to determine the standard technique and quality outcome measures to provide confidence in diagnostic interpretation particularly for serial radiographs.