Task-based image quality evaluation of iterative reconstruction methods for low dose CT using computer simulations

Jingyan Xu, Matthew K. Fuld, George S.K. Fung, Benjamin M.W. Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Iterative reconstruction (IR) methods for x-ray CT is a promising approach to improve image quality or reduce radiation dose to patients. The goal of this work was to use task based image quality measures and the channelized Hotelling observer (CHO) to evaluate both analytic and IR methods for clinical x-ray CT applications. We performed realistic computer simulations at five radiation dose levels, from a clinical reference low dose D0 to 25% D0. A fixed size and contrast lesion was inserted at different locations into the liver of the XCAT phantom to simulate a weak signal. The simulated data were reconstructed on a commercial CT scanner (SOMATOM Definition Flash; Siemens, Forchheim, Germany) using the vendor-provided analytic (WFBP) and IR (SAFIRE) methods. The reconstructed images were analyzed by CHOs with both rotationally symmetric (RS) and rotationally oriented (RO) channels, and with different numbers of lesion locations (5, 10, and 20) in a signal known exactly (SKE), background known exactly but variable (BKEV) detection task. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used as a summary measure to compare the IR and analytic methods; the AUC was also used as the equal performance criterion to derive the potential dose reduction factor of IR. In general, there was a good agreement in the relative AUC values of different reconstruction methods using CHOs with RS and RO channels, although the CHO with RO channels achieved higher AUCs than RS channels. The improvement of IR over analytic methods depends on the dose level. The reference dose level D0 was based on a clinical low dose protocol, lower than the standard dose due to the use of IR methods. At 75% D0, the performance improvement was statistically significant (p<0.05). The potential dose reduction factor also depended on the detection task. For the SKE/BKEV task involving 10 lesion locations, a dose reduction of at least 25% from D0 was achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2881-2901
Number of pages21
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2015


  • area under the curve (AUC)
  • channelized Hotelling observer
  • iterative reconstruction (IR)
  • radiation dose reduction
  • receiver operating characteristic (ROC)
  • task-based image quality evaluation
  • x-ray CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Task-based image quality evaluation of iterative reconstruction methods for low dose CT using computer simulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this