MDCT and data explosion: Current technologies and directions for future development in managing the information overload

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


A great challenge of multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) is dealing with "data explosion". A single days work in a busy clinic may consist of 30 studies, each requiring several hundred images. For carotid and intracranial CT angiograms, we routinely review 375 images (300- mm coverage, reconstructed every 0.8 mm); for aortic studies, we have 450-500 images (~600-mm coverage, reconstructed every 1.3 mm); and for a study of inflow and run-off of the lower extremity, we may generate 900-2,000 transverse reconstructions. One full-body CT examination generates as much as 720 MB of data (scanning a 180-cm person at 1-mm increments produces 1,828 axial images, each 512±512 pixels at 12 bit). Clearly, strategies for efficiently managing this information are necessary. Attempting to manage the information overload by reconstructing fewer images from the data is not a solution, as experience with singledetector CT scanners indicates that longitudinal resolution and disease detection are improved when cross-sections overlap by at least 50% [1]. Therefore, to optimize our clinical protocols and take full advantage of the latest CT technologies, we need to change the way that we interpret, transfer, and store CT data. Film is no longer a viable option: workstation-based review of transverse reconstructions is a necessity. However, the workstations must be improved to provide efficient access to these data, and we must have a way of providing clinicians with images that can be transported to clinics and to the operating room. Alternative visualization and analysis using volumetric tools, including three-dimensional (3D) visualization, must evolve from being considered a luxury to a necessity.We cannot rest on historical precedent to interpret these near-isotropically sampled volumetric data using transverse reconstructions alone [2]. Although the tools for volumetric analysis on 3D workstations have evolved over recent years, they have not yet evolved to a level that routine interpretation can be performed as efficiently and accurately as transverse section review. Both hardware and software developments must occur.While current workstations and visualization software are certainly adequate for volumetrically assessing these MDCT data, the process is time-consuming. In this chapter, I describe current workstation capabilities and briefly discuss areas that require further development for the complete integration of volumetric analysis into the process of interpreting CT data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMultidetector-Row Computed Tomography
Subtitle of host publicationScanning and Contrast Protocols
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)8847003059, 9788847003057
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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