Comparison of blood flow models and acquisitions for quantitative myocardial perfusion estimation from dynamic CT. Academic Article uri icon


  • Myocardial blood flow (MBF) can be estimated from dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) cardiac CT acquisitions, leading to quantitative assessment of regional perfusion. The need for low radiation dose and the lack of consensus on MBF estimation methods motivates this study to refine the selection of acquisition protocols and models for CT-derived MBF. DCE cardiac CT acquisitions were simulated for a range of flow states (MBF = 0.5, 1, 2, 3 ml (min g)(-1), cardiac output = 3, 5, 8 L min(-1)). Patient kinetics were generated by a mathematical model of iodine exchange incorporating numerous physiological features including heterogenenous microvascular flow, permeability and capillary contrast gradients. CT acquisitions were simulated for multiple realizations of realistic x-ray flux levels. CT acquisitions that reduce radiation exposure were implemented by varying both temporal sampling (1, 2, and 3 s sampling intervals) and tube currents (140, 70, and 25 mAs). For all acquisitions, we compared three quantitative MBF estimation methods (two-compartment model, an axially-distributed model, and the adiabatic approximation to the tissue homogeneous model) and a qualitative slope-based method. In total, over 11 000 time attenuation curves were used to evaluate MBF estimation in multiple patient and imaging scenarios. After iodine-based beam hardening correction, the slope method consistently underestimated flow by on average 47.5% and the quantitative models provided estimates with less than 6.5% average bias and increasing variance with increasing dose reductions. The three quantitative models performed equally well, offering estimates with essentially identical root mean squared error (RMSE) for matched acquisitions. MBF estimates using the qualitative slope method were inferior in terms of bias and RMSE compared to the quantitative methods. MBF estimate error was equal at matched dose reductions for all quantitative methods and range of techniques evaluated. This suggests that there is no particular advantage between quantitative estimation methods nor to performing dose reduction via tube current reduction compared to temporal sampling reduction. These data are important for optimizing implementation of cardiac dynamic CT in clinical practice and in prospective CT MBF trials.

publication date

  • April 7, 2014