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Accounting for respiration motion during imaging can help improve targeting precision in radiation therapy. We propose local intensity feature tracking (LIFT), a novel markerless breath phase sorting method in cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) scan images. The contributions of this study are twofold. First, LIFT extracts the respiratory signal from the CBCT projections of the thorax depending only on tissue feature points that exhibit respiration. Second, the extracted respiratory signal is shown to correlate with standard respiration signals. LIFT extracts feature points in the first CBCT projection of a sequence and tracks those points in consecutive projections forming trajectories. Clustering is applied to select trajectories showing an oscillating behavior similar to the breath motion. Those “breathing” trajectories are used in a 3-D reconstruction approach to recover the 3-D motion of the lung which represents the respiratory signal. Experiments were conducted on datasets exhibiting regular and irregular breathing patterns. Results showed that LIFT-based respiratory signal correlates with the diaphragm position-based signal with an average phase shift of 1.68 projections as well as with the internal marker-based signal with an average phase shift of 1.78 projections. LIFT was able to detect the respiratory signal in all projections of all datasets.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2013