Purpose: The new GE Discovery STE and Discovery VCT respectively combine 16-slice and 64-slice CT with PET. The PET scanner has a new BGO detector block of 8 x 6 matrix (6.3 x 4.7 x 30 mm(3)). The aim of this study was to test the performance of the new scanner.
Methods: The PET performance evaluation was done using NEMA methodology. Owing to improved front-end electronics, the system was tested with different energy window and coincidence timing settings.
Results: Transaxial resolution FWHM for 2D(3D) mode at 1 cm offset from the centre of the field of view (R1) was 4.87 mm (5.12 mm) and at 10 cm off centre (R10) radially 5.70 mm (5.89 mm) and tangentially 5.84 mm (5.47 mm). The axial resolutions were 4.4 mm (5.18 mm) (R1) and 5.99 mm (5.86 mm) (R10). The sensitivities were 2.3 cps/kBq (8.8 cps/kBq) (R0, centre of field of view) and 2.3 cps/kBq (8.9 cps/kBq) (R10). The system scatter fraction was 21.4% in 2D at an energy of 375 keV (33.9% in 3D mode at a higher energy of 425 keV). Peak noise equivalent count rates (k=1) were 84.9 kcps at 43.9 kBq/ml (2D) and 67.6 kcps at 12.1 kBq/ml (3D). In image quality measurement the hot sphere to background contrast with 10- to 22-mm diameter spheres varied from 14% to 68%, being slightly better in 3D than in 2D mode. Cold sphere contrast was 67% in 2D and 59% in 3D mode.
Conclusion: GE's new STE and VCT PET/CT systems have improved spatial resolution without loss in sensitivity. When compared with the LYSO crystal-based GE Discovery RX, the resolution and scatter fraction are comparable, the count rate capability is lower but the sensitivity is higher.