Whole-body x-ray dark-field radiography of a human cadaver

Andrejewski J, De Marco F, Willer K, Noichl W, Gustschin A, Koehler T, Meyer P, Kriner F, Fischer F, Braun C, Fingerle AA, Herzen J, Pfeiffer F, Pfeiffer D (2021)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 5

Article Number: 6

Journal Issue: 1

DOI: 10.1186/s41747-020-00201-1


Background: Grating-based x-ray dark-field and phase-contrast imaging allow extracting information about refraction and small-angle scatter, beyond conventional attenuation. A step towards clinical translation has recently been achieved, allowing further investigation on humans. Methods: After the ethics committee approval, we scanned the full body of a human cadaver in anterior-posterior orientation. Six measurements were stitched together to form the whole-body image. All radiographs were taken at a three-grating large-object x-ray dark-field scanner, each lasting about 40 s. Signal intensities of different anatomical regions were assessed. The magnitude of visibility reduction caused by beam hardening instead of small-angle scatter was analysed using different phantom materials. Maximal effective dose was 0.3 mSv for the abdomen. Results: Combined attenuation and dark-field radiography are technically possible throughout a whole human body. High signal levels were found in several bony structures, foreign materials, and the lung. Signal levels were 0.25 ± 0.13 (mean ± standard deviation) for the lungs, 0.08 ± 0.06 for the bones, 0.023 ± 0.019 for soft tissue, and 0.30 ± 0.02 for an antibiotic bead chain. We found that phantom materials, which do not produce small-angle scatter, can generate a strong visibility reduction signal. Conclusion: We acquired a whole-body x-ray dark-field radiograph of a human body in few minutes with an effective dose in a clinical acceptable range. Our findings suggest that the observed visibility reduction in the bone and metal is dominated by beam hardening and that the true dark-field signal in the lung is therefore much higher than that of the bone.

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How to cite


Andrejewski, J., De Marco, F., Willer, K., Noichl, W., Gustschin, A., Koehler, T.,... Pfeiffer, D. (2021). Whole-body x-ray dark-field radiography of a human cadaver. European Radiology Experimental, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41747-020-00201-1


Andrejewski, Jana, et al. "Whole-body x-ray dark-field radiography of a human cadaver." European Radiology Experimental 5.1 (2021).

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