Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Hoffman, Eric A

First Committee Member

Reinhardt, Joseph M

Second Committee Member

Newell, John D


Accurate, cross-scanner assessment of in-vivo air density used to quantitatively assess amount and distribution of emphysema in COPD subjects has remained elusive. Hounsfield units (HU) within tracheal air can be considerably more positive than -1000 HU. With the advent of new dual-source scanners which employ dedicated scatter correction techniques, it is of interest to evaluate how the quantitative measures of lung density compare between dual-source and single-source scan modes. This study has sought to characterize in-vivo and phantom-based air metrics using dual-energy computed tomography technology where the nature of the technology has required adjustments to scatter correction.

Anesthetized ovine (N=6), swine (N=13: more human-like rib cage shape), lung phantom and a thoracic phantom were studied using a dual-source MDCT scanner (Siemens Definition Flash. Multiple dual-source dual-energy (DSDE) and single-source (SS) scans taken at different energy levels and scan settings were acquired for direct quantitative comparison. Density histograms were evaluated for the lung, tracheal, water and blood segments. Image data were obtained at 80, 100, 120, and 140 kVp in the SS mode (B35f kernel) and at 80, 100, 140, and 140-Sn (tin filtered) kVp in the DSDE mode (B35f and D30f kernels), in addition to variations in dose, rotation time, and pitch. To minimize the effect of cross-scatter, the phantom scans in the DSDE mode was obtained by reducing the tube current of one of the tubes to its minimum (near zero) value.

When using image data obtained in the DSDE mode, the median HU values in the tracheal regions of all animals and the phantom were consistently closer to -1000 HU regardless of reconstruction kernel (chapters 3 and 4). Similarly, HU values of water and blood were consistently closer to their nominal values of 0 HU and 55 HU respectively. When using image data obtained in the SS mode the air CT numbers demonstrated a consistent positive shift of up to 35 HU with respect to the nominal -1000 HU value. In vivo data demonstrated considerable variability in tracheal, influenced by local anatomy with SS mode scanning while tracheal air was more consistent with DSDE imaging. Scatter effects in the lung parenchyma differed from adjacent tracheal measures.

In summary, data suggest that enhanced scatter correction serves to provide more accurate CT lung density measures sought to quantitatively assess the presence and distribution of emphysema in COPD subjects. Data further suggest that CT images, acquired without adequate scatter correction, cannot be corrected by linear algorithms given the variability in tracheal air HU values and the independent scatter effects on lung parenchyma.


COPD, emphysema, hounsfield, lung density, quantitative CT, three material decomposition


ix, 75 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 65-75).


Copyright 2013 Sean D. Mobberley