Skip to Main Content
While multislice spiral computed tomography (CT) scanners are provided by all major manufacturers, their specific interpolation algorithms have been rarely evaluated. Because the results published so far relate to distinct particular cases and differ significantly, there are contradictory recommendations about the choice of pitch in clinical practice. We present a new tool for the evaluation of multislice spiral CT z-interpolation algorithms, and apply it to the four-slice case. Our software is based on the computation of a "Weighted Radiation Profile" (WRP), and compares WRP to an expected ideal profile in terms of widening and heterogeneity . It provides a unique scheme for analyzing a large variety of spiral CT acquisition procedures. Freely chosen parameters include: number of detector rows, detector collimation, nominal slice width, helical pitch, and interpolation algorithm with any filter shape and width. Moreover, it is possible to study any longitudinal and off-isocenter positions. Theoretical and experimental results show that WRP, more than Slice Sensitivity Profile (SSP), provides a comprehensive characterization of interpolation algorithms. WRP analysis demonstrates that commonly "preferred helical pitches" are actually nonoptimal regarding the formerly distinguished z-sampling gap reduction criterion. It is also shown that "narrow filter" interpolation algorithms do not enable a general preferred pitch discussion, since they present poor properties with large longitudinal and off-center variations. In the more stable case of "wide filter" interpolation algorithms, SSP width or WRP widening are shown to be almost constant. Therefore, optimal properties should no longer be sought in terms of these criteria. On the contrary, WRP heterogeneity is related to variable artifact phenomena and can pertinently characterize optimal pitches. In particular, the exemplary interpolation properties of pitch=1 "wide filter" mode are demonstrated.