Influence of Image Metrics When Assessing Image Quality from a Test Object in Cardiac X-ray Systems
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Modern fluoroscopic systems used for invasive cardiology typically acquire digital images in a 1,024 × 1,024 × 12 bits. These images are maintained in the original format while they remain on the imaging system itself. However, images are usually stored using a reduced 512 × 512 × 8-bits format. This paper presents a method for digital analysis of test objects images. The results obtained using image-intensifier and flat-detector systems are given for the original and reduced matrices. Images were acquired using a test object (TO) and a range of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) thicknesses from 4 to 28 cm. Adult patient protocols were evaluated for 16–28 cm of PMMA using the image-intensifier system. Pediatric protocols were evaluated for 4–16 cm of PMMA using the flat-detector system. The TO contains disks of various thicknesses to evaluate low contrast sensitivity and a bar pattern to evaluate high-contrast spatial resolution (HCSR). All available fluoroscopic and cine modes were evaluated. Entrance surface air kerma was also measured. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was evaluated using regions of interest (ROI). HCSR was evaluated by comparing the statistical analysis of a ROI placed over the image of the bar pattern against a reference ROI. For both systems, an improvement of approximately 20% was observed for the SNR on the reduced matrices. However, the HCSR parameter was substantially lower in the reduced metrics. Cardiologists should consider the clinical influence of reduced spatial resolution when using the archived images.
Key wordsImage quality test object matrix size catheterization cardiology
One of the authors (EV) acknowledges the support of the Spanish grant FIS2006-08186 (Ministry of Science and Innovation).
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