Limited-angle effect compensation for respiratory binned cardiac SPECT

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine



Document Type



Medical Biophysics | Radiology


PURPOSE: In cardiac single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), respiratory-binned study is used to combat the motion blur associated with respiratory motion. However, owing to the variability in respiratory patterns during data acquisition, the acquired data counts can vary significantly both among respiratory bins and among projection angles within individual bins. If not properly accounted for, such variation could lead to artifacts similar to limited-angle effect in image reconstruction. In this work, the authors aim to investigate several reconstruction strategies for compensating the limited-angle effect in respiratory binned data for the purpose of reducing the image artifacts.

METHODS: The authors first consider a model based correction approach, in which the variation in acquisition time is directly incorporated into the imaging model, such that the data statistics are accurately described among both the projection angles and respiratory bins. Afterward, the authors consider an approximation approach, in which the acquired data are rescaled to accommodate the variation in acquisition time among different projection angles while the imaging model is kept unchanged. In addition, the authors also consider the use of a smoothing prior in reconstruction for suppressing the artifacts associated with limited-angle effect. In our evaluation study, the authors first used Monte Carlo simulated imaging with 4D NCAT phantom wherein the ground truth is known for quantitative comparison. The authors evaluated the accuracy of the reconstructed myocardium using a number of metrics, including regional and overall accuracy of the myocardium, uniformity and spatial resolution of the left ventricle (LV) wall, and detectability of perfusion defect using a channelized Hotelling observer. As a preliminary demonstration, the authors also tested the different approaches on five sets of clinical acquisitions.

RESULTS: The quantitative evaluation results show that the three compensation methods could all, but to different extents, reduce the reconstruction artifacts over no compensation. In particular, the model based approach reduced the mean-squared-error of the reconstructed myocardium by as much as 40%. Compared to the approach of data rescaling, the model based approach further improved both the overall and regional accuracy of the myocardium; it also further improved the lesion detectability and the uniformity of the LV wall. When ML reconstruction was used, the model based approach was notably more effective for improving the LV wall; when MAP reconstruction was used, the smoothing prior could reduce the noise level and artifacts with little or no increase in bias, but at the cost of a slight resolution loss of the LV wall. The improvements in image quality by the different compensation methods were also observed in the clinical acquisitions.

CONCLUSIONS: Compensating for the uneven distribution of acquisition time among both projection angles and respiratory bins can effectively reduce the limited-angle artifacts in respiratory-binned cardiac SPECT reconstruction. Direct incorporation of the time variation into the imaging model together with a smoothing prior in reconstruction can lead to the most improvement in the accuracy of the reconstructed myocardium.

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Citation: Med Phys. 2016 Jan;43(1):443. doi: 10.1118/1.4938579. Link to article on publisher's site

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