Brain perfusion is of key importance to assess brain function. Modern CT scanners can acquire perfusion maps of the cerebral parenchyma in vivo at submillimeter resolution. These perfusion maps give insights into the hemodynamics of the cerebral parenchyma and are critical for example for treatment decisions in acute stroke. However, the relations between acquisition parameters, tissue attenuation curves, and perfusion values are still poorly understood and cannot be unraveled by studies involving humans because of ethical concerns. We present a 4D CT digital phantom specific for an individual human brain to analyze these relations in a bottom-up fashion. Validation of the signal and noise components was based on 1,000 phantom simulations of 20 patient imaging data. This framework was applied to quantitatively assess the relation between radiation dose and perfusion values, and to quantify the signal-to-noise ratios of penumbra regions with decreasing sizes in white and gray matter. This is the first 4D CT digital phantom that enables to address clinical questions without having to expose the patient to additional radiation dose.
Keywords: 4D CT; Acute stroke; Digital phantom; Perfusion analysis.