Quantifying pulmonary perfusion from noncontrast computed tomography.
PURPOSE: Computed tomography (CT)-derived ventilation methods compute respiratory induced volume changes as a surrogate for pulmonary ventilation. Currently, there are no known methods to derive perfusion information from noncontrast CT. We introduce a novel CT-Perfusion (CT-P) method for computing the magnitude mass changes apparent on dynamic noncontrast CT as a surrogate for pulmonary perfusion.
METHODS: CT-Perfusion is based on a mass conservation model which describes the unknown mass change as a linear combination of spatially corresponding inhale and exhale HU estimated voxel densities. CT-P requires a deformable image registration (DIR) between the inhale/exhale lung CT pair, a preprocessing lung volume segmentation, and an estimate for the Jacobian of the DIR transformation. Given this information, the CT-P image, which provides the magnitude mass change for each voxel within the lung volume, is formulated as the solution to a constrained linear least squares problem defined by a series of subregional mean magnitude mass change measurements. Similar to previous robust CT-ventilation methods, the amount of uncertainty in a subregional sample mean measurement is related to measurement resolution and can be characterized with respect to a tolerance parameter
RESULTS: The median correlations between CT-P and SPECT-P taken over all 30 test cases ranged between 0.49 and 0.57 across the parameter sweep. For the optimal tolerance τ = 0.0385, the CT-P and SPECT-P correlations across all 30 test cases ranged between 0.02 and 0.82. A one-sample sign test was applied separately to the PE and lung cancer cohorts. A low Spearmen correlation of 15% was set as the null median value and two-sided alternative was tested. The PE patients showed a median correlation of 0.57 (IQR = 0.305). One-sample sign test was statistically significant with 96.5 % confidence interval: 0.20-0.63, P < 0.00001. Lung cancer patients had a median correlation of 0.57(IQR = 0.230). Again, a one-sample sign test for median was statistically significant with 96.5 percent confidence interval: 0.45-0.71, P < 0.00001.
CONCLUSION: CT-Perfusion is the first mechanistic model designed to quantify magnitude blood mass changes on noncontrast dynamic CT as a surrogate for pulmonary perfusion. While the reported correlations with SPECT-P are promising, further investigation is required to determine the optimal CT acquisition protocol and numerical method implementation for CT-P imaging.