Phased attenuation correction in respiration correlated computed tomography/positron emitted tomography

Med Phys. 2006 Jun;33(6):1840-7. doi: 10.1118/1.2198170.


The motion of lung tumors with respiration causes difficulties in the imaging with computed tomography (CT) and positronemitted tomography (PET). Since an accurate knowledge of the position of the tumor and the surrounding tissues is needed for radiation treatment planning, it is important to improve CT/PET image acquisition. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential to improve image acquisition using phased attenuation correction in respiration correlated CT/PET, where data of both modalities were binned retrospectively. Respiration correlated scans were made on a Siemens Biograph Sensation 16 CT/PET scanner which was modified to make a low pitch CT scan and list mode PET scan possible. A lollipop phantom was used in the experiments. The sphere with a diameter of 3.1 cm was filled with approximately 20 MBq 18F-FDG. Three longitudinal movement amplitudes were tested: 2.5, 3.9, and 4.8 cm. After collection of the raw CT data, list mode PET data, and the respiratory signal CT/PET images were binned to ten phases with the help of in-house-built software. Each PET phase was corrected for attenuation with CT data of the corresponding phase. For comparison, the attenuation correction was also performed with nonrespiration correlated (non-RC) CT data. The volume and the amplitude of the movement were calculated for every phaseof both the CT and PET data (with phased attenuation correction). Maximum and average activity concentrations were compared between the phased and nonphased attenuation corrected PET. With a standard non-RC CT/PET scan, the volume was underestimated by as much as 46% in CT and the PET volume was overestimated to 370%. The volumes found with RC-CT/PET scanning had average deviations of 1.9% (+/- 4.8%) and 1.5% (+/- 3.4%) from the actual volume, for the CT and PET volumes, respectively. Evaluation of the maximum activity concentration showed a clear displacement in the images with non-RC attenuation correction, and activity values were on average14% (+/- 12%) lower than with phased attenuation correction. The standard deviation of the maximum activity values found in the different phases was a factor of 10 smaller when phased attenuation correction was applied. In this phantom study, we have shown that a combination of respiration correlated CT/PET scanning with application of phased attenuation correction can improve the imaging of moving objects and can lead to improved volume estimation and a more precise localization and quantification of the activity.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiology
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods*