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A new method for tracking organ motion on diagnostic ultrasound
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Respiratory-gated irradiation is effective in reducing the margins of a target in the
case of abdominal organs, such as the liver, that change their position as a result of
respiratory motion. However, existing technologies are incapable of directly measuring
organ motion in real-time during radiation beam delivery. Hence, the authors proposed a
novel quantitative organ motion tracking method involving the use of diagnostic
images; it is
noninvasive and does not entail radiation exposure. In the present study, the authors
have prospectively evaluated this proposed method.
The method involved real-time processing of clinical ultrasound imaging data
rather than organ monitoring; it comprised a three-dimensional
device, a respiratory sensing system, and two PCs for data storage and analysis.
The study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed method by tracking
the gallbladder in one subject and a liver vein in another subject. To track a moving target
organ, the method involved the control of a region of interest (ROI) that delineated the
target. A tracking algorithm was used to control the ROI, and a large number of feature
points and an error
correction algorithm were used to achieve long-term tracking of the
target. Tracking accuracy was assessed in terms of how well the ROI matched the center
of the target.
The effectiveness of using a large number of feature points and the error correction algorithm in
the proposed method was verified by comparing it with two simple tracking methods. The
ROI could capture the center of the target for about 5 min in a cross-sectional
changing position. Indeed, using the proposed method, it was possible to accurately
track a target with a center deviation of 1.54 ± 0.9 mm. The computing time for one
using our proposed method was 8 ms. It is expected that it would be possible to track
any soft-tissue organ or tumor with large deformations and changing cross-sectional position
using this method.
The proposed method achieved real-time processing and continuous tracking of the target
organ for about 5 min. It is expected that our method will enable more accurate
radiation treatment than is the case using indirect observational methods, such as the
respiratory sensor method, because of direct visualization of the tumor. Results show that this
system facilitates safe treatment in clinical practice.
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