OBJECTIVE: To construct and optimize a fiducial marker suitable for both CT and MRI.
SAMPLE: Fiducial markers containing serial dilutions of iopamidol mixed with water.
PROCEDURES: IV tubing sets were infused with serial dilutions (0% to 100%; increments of 10%) of iopamidol. Tubing ends were sealed; additional seals were added to create an equilateral triangle. A reference point was created by placing a crimp in 1 side. Markers were fixed to a gelatin soft tissue-attenuating phantom and evaluated by use of CT and MRI. For CT, simple linear regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between the percentage of marker contrast medium and quantitative variables, including marker attenuation, attenuation changes in the phantom, and beam-hardening artifact length. A subjective grading scheme for artifact creation on CT images and marker visibility on MRI images was used. Measurements were obtained by investigators who were unaware of the contents of each marker.
RESULTS: Percentage of contrast medium in each marker was strongly correlated with marker attenuation (r(2) = 0.96), artifact length (r(2) = 0.765), and mean attenuation changes within the phantom (r(2) = 0.826) for CT. Subjective CT scores indicated that concentrations of contrast medium > 50% resulted in excessive artifacts. Markers with concentrations of iopamidol > 50% had poor subjective MRI visibility scores. No artifacts were seen on MRI.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A marker containing a 10% solution of iodinated contrast medium mixed with water provided ideal contrast for both CT and MRI.