LowD-CT: Low-dose Computed Tomography for pediatric applications
X-ray computed tomography (CT) is an important diagnostic imaging modality, but due to concerns about health effects from radiation, the radiation dose must be kept as low as reasonably achievable. This is particularly important for children, who are more radiation sensitive than adults. A new x-ray CT technology, photon-counting CT, promises improved image quality and reduced radiation dose, but in order to harness the full potential of this technology, there is a need for developing new image reconstruction methods that make the best use of the measured data while keeping the computation time short enough to fit in with the clinical workflow. In this project, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action funded by the EU Research Executive Agency, I am working with developing a new technique for low-dose x-ray computed tomography for pediatric imaging. The new method is based on a new method for complexity reduction of the image reconstruction problem: Instead of optimizing a complicated objective function iteratively, we first optimize a simpler, approximate objective function and then add post-corrections to incorporate the effects of a detailed noise model and non-ideal physical effects such as Compton scatter, fluorescence and charge sharing. This new method has the potential to combine the accuracy attainable with a complex system model with the computation speed of a simple, well-studied reconstruction problem. The aim of the project is to develop the new algorithm, test it on data acquired with a photon-counting prototype scanner and use it to evaluate the performance of low-dose pediatric CT imaging compared to state-of-the art CT and projection radiography. A successful outcome can lead to a substantial reduction in radiation dose for children undergoing x-ray CT examinations.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 795747.