Normalization of CT scans reconstructed with different kernels to reduce variability in emphysema measurements

L. Gallardo-Estrella, B. van Ginneken and E.M. van Rikxoort

in: Medical Imaging, volume 8670 of Proceedings of the SPIE, 2013, page 86700E



Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive air flow limitation caused by emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is quantified from chest computed tomography (CT) scans as the percentage of attentuation values below a fixed threshold. The emphysema quantification varies substantially between scans reconstructed with different kernels, limiting the possibilities to compare emphysema quantifications obtained from scans with different reconstruction parameters. In this paper we propose a method to normalize scans reconstructed with different kernels to have the same characteristics as scans reconstructed with a reference kernel and investigate if this normalization reduces the variability in emphysema quantification. The proposed normalization splits a CT scan into different frequency bands based on hierarchical unsharp masking. Normalization is performed by changing the energy in each frequency band to the average energy in each band in the reference kernel. A database of 15 subjects with COPD was constructed for this study. All subjects were scanned at total lung capacity and the scans were reconstructed with four different reconstruction kernels. The normalization was applied to all scans. Emphysema quantification was performed before and after normalization. It is shown that the emphysema score varies substantially before normalization but the variation diminishes after normalization.

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