A Blooming correction technique for improved vasa vasorum detection using an ultra-high-resolution photon-counting detector CT

Jeffrey Marsh, Kishore Rajendran, Shengzhen Tao, Andrew Vercnocke, Jill Anderson, Shuai Leng, Erik Ritman, Cynthia McCollough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Proliferation of vasa vasorum, the microvasculature within artery walls, is an early marker of atherosclerosis. Detection of subtle changes in the spatial density of vasa vasorum using contrast-enhanced CT is challenging due to the limited spatial resolution and blooming effects. We report a forward model-based blooming correction technique to improve vasa vasorum detection in a porcine model imaged using an ultra-high resolution photon-counting detector CT. Six weeks preceding the CT study the animal received autologous blood injections in its left carotid artery to stimulate vasa vasorum proliferation within the arterial wall (right carotid served as control). The forward model predicted radial extent and magnitude of the luminal blooming affecting the wall signal by using prior data acquired with a vessel phantom of known dimensions. The predicted contamination from blooming was then subtracted from the original wall signal measurement to recover the obscured vasa vasorum signal. Attenuation measurements made on a testing vessel phantom before and after blooming corrections revealed a reduction in mean squared error by ~99.9% when compared to the ground truth. Applying corrections to contrast-enhanced carotid arteries from in vivo scan data demonstrated consistent reductions of blooming contamination within the vessel walls. An unpaired student t-test applied to measurements from the uncorrected porcine scan data revealed no significant difference between the vessel walls (p=0.26). However, after employing blooming correction, the mean enhancement was significantly greater in the injured vessel wall (p=0.0006).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2020
Subtitle of host publicationPhysics of Medical Imaging
EditorsGuang-Hong Chen, Hilde Bosmans
ISBN (Electronic)9781510633919
StatePublished - 2020
EventMedical Imaging 2020: Physics of Medical Imaging - Houston, United States
Duration: Feb 16 2020Feb 19 2020

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2020: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Photon counting detector
  • Ultra-high resolution
  • Vasa vasorum
  • X-ray computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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