OBJECTIVES: To quantitatively evaluate the impact of a cardiac acquisition CT mode on motion artifacts in comparison to a conventional cine mode for dynamic musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging.
METHODS: A rotating PMMA phantom with air-filled holes drilled at varying distances from the disk center corresponding to linear hole speeds of 0.75 cm/s, 2.0 cm/s, and 3.6 cm/s was designed. Dynamic scans were obtained in cardiac and cine modes while the phantom was rotating at 48°/s in the CT scanner. An automated workflow to compute the Jaccard distance (JD) was established to quantify degree of motion artifacts in the reconstructed phantom images. JD values between the cardiac and cine scan modes were compared using a paired sample t-test. In addition, three healthy volunteers were scanned with both modes during a cyclic flexion-extension motion of the knee and analysed using the proposed metric.
RESULTS: For all hole sizes and speeds, the cardiac scan mode had significantly lower (p-value <0.001) JD values. (0.39 [0.32-0.46]) i.e less motion artifacts in comparison to the cine mode (0.72 [0.68-0.76]). For both modes, a progressive increase in JD was also observed as the linear speed of the holes increased from 0.75 cm/s to 3.6 cm/s. The dynamic images of the three healthy volunteers showed less artifacts when scanned in cardiac mode compared to cine mode, and this was quantitatively confirmed by the JD values.
CONCLUSIONS: A cardiac scan mode could be used to study dynamic musculoskeletal phenomena especially of fast-moving joints since it significantly minimized motion artifacts.