Measuring Small Airways in Transverse CT Images. Correction for Partial Volume Averaging and Airway Tilt

Susan H. Conradi, Barbara A. Lutey, Jeffrey J. Atkinson, Wei Wang, Robert M. Senior, David S. Gierada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rationale and Objectives: Airway wall dimensions can be determined in vivo using transverse computed tomographic (CT) images, but the measurement of airway phantoms shows that the wall thickness is consistently overestimated for small airways. This phantom study was performed to derive and test corrections to the measurements on the basis of consideration of partial volume averaging and tilt effects. Materials and Methods: A lung phantom with six polycarbonate tubes embedded in foam was scanned, and the cross-sectional dimensions of the tubes were determined using the full width at half maximum, zero crossing, and phase congruency edge detection methods. Equations were derived using the reported wall intensity to correct for partial volume averaging. Corrections for the overestimation of the wall thickness due to the tilt of the tube with respect to the CT z-axis were also derived. Results: All three methods (full width at half maximum, zero crossing, and phase congruency) overestimated the wall thickness of the small polycarbonate tubes. It was verified that two sources of error were partial volume averaging and tilt that was introduced when the phantom was positioned with tube axes at an angle to the CT z-axis. The corrections were applied to the measured tube wall dimensions and substantially reduced the deviation of the CT measurements from the true values. Conclusions: Correcting for partial volume effects and airway tilt greatly increases the accuracy of simulated airway wall measurements in transverse CT images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1534
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic radiology
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

Keywords

  • Airway
  • Airway wall
  • CT
  • Phase congruency

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