Reproducibility of registration-based measures of lung tissue expansion

Kaifang Du, John E. Bayouth, Kunlin Cao, Gary E. Christensen, Kai Ding, Joseph M. Reinhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Purpose: Lung function depends on lung expansion and contraction during the respiratory cycle. Respiratory-gated CT imaging and 3D image registration can be used to locally estimate lung tissue expansion and contraction (regional lung volume change) by computing the determinant of the Jacobian matrix of the image registration deformation field. In this study, the authors examine the reproducibility of Jacobian-based measures of lung tissue expansion in two repeat 4DCT acquisitions of mechanically ventilated sheep and free-breathing humans. Methods: 4DCT image data from three white sheep and nine human subjects were used for this analysis. In each case, two 4DCT studies were acquired for each subject within a short time interval. The animal subjects were anesthetized and mechanically ventilated, while the humans were awake and spontaneously breathing based on respiratory pacing audio cues. From each 4DCT data set, an image pair consisting of a volume reconstructed near end inspiration and a volume reconstructed near end exhalation was selected. The end inspiration and end exhalation images were registered using a tissue volume preserving deformable registration algorithm and the Jacobian of the registration deformation field was used to measure regional lung expansion. The Jacobian map from the baseline data set was compared to the Jacobian map from the followup data by measuring the voxel-by-voxel Jacobian ratio. Results: In the animal subjects, the mean Jacobian ratio (baseline scan Jacobian divided by followup scan Jacobian, voxel-by-voxel) was 0. 9984±0. 021 (mean±standard deviation, averaged over the entire lung region). The mean Jacobian ratio was 1.0224±0. 058 in the human subjects. The reproducibility of the Jacobian values was found to be strongly dependent on the reproducibility of the subject's respiratory effort and breathing pattern. Conclusions: Lung expansion, a surrogate for lung function, can be assessed using two or more respiratory-gated CT image acquisitions. The results show that good reproducibility can be obtained in anesthetized, mechanically ventilated animals, but variations in respiratory effort and breathing patterns reduce reproducibility in spontaneously-breathing humans. The global linear normalization can globally compensate for breathing effort differences, but a homogeneous scaling does not account for differences in regional lung expansion rates. Additional work is needed to develop compensation procedures or normalization schemes that can account for local variations in lung expansion during respiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1608
Number of pages14
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • image registration
  • lung expansion
  • regional pulmonary function
  • variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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