Effect of Non-Alignment/Alignment of Attenuation Map Without/With Emission Motion Correction in Cardiac SPECT/CT

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology



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PURPOSE: We investigate the differences without/with respiratory motion correction in apparent imaging agent localization induced in reconstructed emission images when the attenuation maps used for attenuation correction (from CT) are misaligned with the patient anatomy during emission imaging due to differences in respiratory state.

METHODS: We investigated use of attenuation maps acquired at different states of a 2 cm amplitude respiratory cycle (at end-expiration, at end-inspiration, the center map, the average transmission map, and a large breath-hold beyond range of respiration during emission imaging) to correct for attenuation in MLEM reconstruction for several anatomical variants of the NCAT phantom which included both with and without non-rigid motion between heart and sub-diaphragmatic regions (such as liver, kidneys etc). We tested these cases with and without emission motion correction and attenuation map alignment/non-alignment.

RESULTS: For the NCAT default male anatomy the false count-reduction due to breathing was largely removed upon emission motion correction for the large majority of the cases. Exceptions (for the default male) were for the cases when using the large-breathhold end-inspiration map (TI_EXT), when we used the end-expiration (TE) map, and to a smaller extent, the end-inspiration map (TI). However moving the attenuation maps rigidly to align the heart region, reduced the remaining count-reduction artifacts. For the female patient count-reduction remained post motion correction using rigid map-alignment due to the breast soft-tissue misalignment. Quantitatively, after the transmission (rigid) alignment correction, the polar-map 17-segment RMS error with respect to the reference (motion-less case) reduced by 46.5% on average for the extreme breathhold case. The reductions were 40.8% for end-expiration map and 31.9% for end-inspiration cases on the average, comparable to the semi-ideal case where each state uses its own attenuation map for correction.

CONCLUSIONS: Two main conclusions are that even rigid emission motion correction to rigidly align the heart region to the attenuation map helps in average cases to reduce the count-reduction artifacts and secondly, within the limits of the study (ex. rigid correction) when there is lung tissue inferior to the heart as with the NCAT phantom employed in this study endexpiration maps (TE) might best be avoided as they may create more artifacts than the end-inspiration (TI) maps.

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Citation: IEEE Trans Nucl Sci. 2015 Aug;62(4):1813-1824. Epub 2015 Jul 23. Link to article on publisher's site

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SPECT data quantification and correction methods, image generation, image quality assessment, simulation

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