Technology Listings

Improved Cardiac Imaging Tool


This technology can be used to create an imaging program or system that images both the heart and thoracic cavity with increased accuracy. Distortions such as "heart drift," which occur when fusing CT and PET images, are corrected via this technology.

Key Benefits
  • Delivers improved images of the heart and lungs using PET/CT imaging when compared to currently used methods.
  • Images both the heart and lungs accurately by correcting for the heart drift artifact without rotating the CT image.
  • Does not relocate or shift highly attenuating tissues, like bone, when constructing images.
Technical Summary

Cardiac imaging using a fused CT/PET image allows physicians to take a closer look at the heart and thoracic cavity with little risk to the patient. These images of the chest commonly contain a distortion or artifact termed "heart drift," in which the image of the heart from the PET scan is shifted to the left, when combined with the CT image. This causes the PET image of the heart to overlap with the CT image of the left lung. Currently, this distortion is corrected by rotating the CT scan until both the CT and PET images of the heart are aligned. This often results in the image of other highly dense structures like bone being shifted.

The technology described here offers an alternative method for correcting "heart drift." Like current technology, both PET and CT images are used; however instead of rotating the CT image, both the PET and CT images are converted to binary images and then overlaid. Once overlaid, areas where the emission data of the heart from the PET scan overlap the transmission data of the heart from the CT scan are recorded and given a Hounsfield number consistent with heart muscle. This data is then reinserted into the CT scan. The resulting image more accurately represents the location of the heart as well as other tissues in the thoracic cavity and corrects the "heart drift" artifact without shifting the location of other tissues in the image.

Developmental Stage & Potential Market
  • This technology has already been tested using thoracic phantom models yielding highly accurate results.
  • Approximately 30% of all chest CT and PET scans contain a "heart drift" artifact. This technology could easily be applied to those cases.
Patent Information
Tech ID: 07009
Published: 2/24/2009

Cliff Michaels
Assistant Director
Emory University

John Votaw
Jonathon Nye