Intracranial CT angiography obtained from a cerebral CT perfusion examination

Med Phys. 2009 Apr;36(4):1074-85. doi: 10.1118/1.3078043.


CT perfusion (CTP) examinations of the brain are performed increasingly for the evaluation of cerebral blood flow in patients with stroke and vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Of the same patient often also a CT angiography (CTA) examination is performed. This study investigates the possibility to obtain CTA images from the CTP examination, thereby possibly obviating the CTA examination. This would save the patient exposure to radiation, contrast, and time. Each CTP frame is a CTA image with a varying amount of contrast enhancement and with high noise. To improve the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) we combined all 3D images into one 3D image after registration to correct for patient motion between time frames. Image combination consists of weighted averaging in which the weighting factor of each frame is proportional to the arterial contrast. It can be shown that the arterial CNR is maximized in this procedure. An additional advantage of the use of the time series of CTP images is that automatic differentiation between arteries and veins is possible. This feature was used to mask veins in the resulting 3D images to enhance visibility of arteries in maximum intensity projection (MIP) images. With a Philips Brilliance 64 CT scanner (64 x 0.625 mm) CTP examinations of eight patients were performed on 80 mm of brain using the toggling table technique. The CTP examination consisted of a time series of 15 3D images (2 x 64 x 0.625 mm; 80 kV; 150 mAs each) with an interval of 4 s. The authors measured the CNR in images obtained with weighted averaging, images obtained with plain averaging, and images with maximal arterial enhancement. The authors also compared CNR and quality of the images with that of regular CTA examinations and examined the effectiveness of automatic vein masking in MIP images. The CNR of the weighted averaged images is, on the average, 1.73 times the CNR of an image at maximal arterial enhancement in the CTP series, where the use of plain averaging increases the CNR only with a factor of 1.49. The quality of the weighted averaged images approaches that of CTA images, although in the present study the image quality of CTA was not quite reached. The automatic masking of veins is effective and only small remnants of veins were sometimes present in the masked images. Weighted averaging makes it possible to create CTA images from a CTP examination with a CNR considerably higher than that of images with maximal arterial enhancement. The quality of the resulting images approaches that of CTA images and offers the additional advantages to automatically differentiate between arteries and veins.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Automation
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Angiography / instrumentation
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Models, Statistical
  • Perfusion
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Veins / pathology