Recent advances in flat-panel detectors and microcomputers have enabled compact and mobile computed tomography (CT) imaging devices to be successful in dental and otolaryngology applications, and show promise for neurological imaging applications. However unsedated patients with neurological conditions tend to move during the scan which degrades image quality in the soft-tissue / brain viewing windows. This proposal presents an innovative method to compensate for patient movement to restore image quality for CT exams. The method consists of software algorithms to estimate and correct patient movement from the projection data, employing inexpensive and readily available radio-opaque markers. This technology has the potential to improve timeliness, safety, and reliability of neuro-imaging in the ICU, CCU, and OR. Example applications include monitoring or detecting bleeds and infarcts, evaluating brain shift and compression, placing ventricular shunt catheters, and deep brain stimulation. Phase 1 will be devoted to the development of the motion compensation method and to demonstrating adequate imaging performance. Test data will be obtained from a head phantom subject with simulated brain hemorrhages and with realistic, mechanically-induced movement on a testbed. An algorithm will be developed to accurately estimate subject movement from the x-ray projections of radio-opaque markers attached to the head. Another algorithm will be developed to reconstruct images, incorporating the motion estimates. End-to-end tests will be performed with clinician feedback. In phase 2, the proposed device will be streamlined, including algorithm speedup, to enable practical use in clinical settings. Clinical studies will be performed to evaluate and refine the method for commercial launch. The commercial opportunity for the system is estimated to be over 5000 systems in the USA over 10 years, which would lead to the creation of approximately 100 jobs.
Recently emergent compact CT devices can perform head CT scans directly in the ICU, CCU, and OR, and therefore have the potential to improve timeliness, safety, and reliability of neuro- imaging. An obstacle to fulfilling this potential is that these systems have longer scanning times than conventional CT devices, making imaging performance more vulnerable to patient motion. To overcome this obstacle, this project proposes to combine a highly compact, mobile flat panel CT system with a method for motion compensation.