Robustness to noise of arterial blood flow estimation methods in CT perfusion

Maria Romano, Michela D'Antò, Paolo Bifulco, Francesco Fiore, Mario Cesarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Perfusion CT is a technology which allows functional evaluation of tissue vascularity. Due to this potential, it is finding increasing utility in oncology. Although since its introduction continuous advances have interested CT technique, some issues have to be still defined, concerning both clinical and technical aspects. In this study, we dealt with the comparison of two widely employed mathematical models (dual input one compartment model - DOCM - and maximum slope - SM -) analyzing their robustness to the noise. Methods. We carried out a computer simulation process to quantify effect of noise on the evaluation of an important perfusion parameter (Arterial Blood Flow - BFa) in liver tumours. A total of 4500 liver TAC, corresponding to 3 fixed BFa values, were simulated using different arterial and portal TAC (computed from 5 real CT images) at 10 values of signal to noise ratio (SNR). BFa values were calculated by applying four different algorithms, specifically developed, to these noisy simulated curves. Three algorithms were developed to implement SM (one semiautomatic, one automatic and one automatic with filtering) and the last for the DOCM method. Results: In all the simulations, DOCM provided the best results, i.e., those with the lowest percentage error compared to the reference value of BFa. Concerning SM, the results are variable. Results obtained with the automatic algorithm with filtering are close to the reference value, but only if SNR is higher than 50. Vice versa, results obtained by means of the semiautomatic algorithm gave, in all simulations, the lowest results with the lowest standard deviation of the percentage error. Conclusions: Since the use of DOCM is limited by the necessity that portal vein is visible in CT scans, significant restriction for patients' follow-up, we concluded that SM can be reliably employed. However, a proper software has to be used and an estimation of SNR would be carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number540
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 18 2014


  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Dual-input one-compartment model
  • Liver perfusion
  • Maximum slope method
  • Noise robustness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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