Purpose: CT-based attenuation correction may influence cardiac PET owing to its higher susceptibility to misalignment compared with conventional (68)Ge transmission scans. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether CT attenuation correction leads to changes in tracer distribution compared with conventional cardiac PET and to determine a suitable CT protocol.
Methods: A total of 27 patients underwent PET/CT and subsequently a PET scan. Twenty patients received a low-dose CT (LDCT group; 120 kV, 26 mA, 8-s scan time), seven patients a slow CT (SCT group; 120 kV, 99 mA, 46-s scan time) and ten patients an ultra-low-dose CT (ULDCT group; 80 kV, 13 mA, 5-s scan time) as the transmission scan in PET/CT. Polar maps were divided into 17 segments and regression analysis was computed in every scan pair (CT attenuation corrected-(68)Ge attenuation corrected). Correlation coefficient (r), the slope (s) and the offset (os) of the regression line were determined. Visual assessment of misalignment between the transmission and emission data was performed. The effective dose of the different transmission scans was calculated.
Results: Overall, there was a moderate correlation between the mean values measured in all segments on PET/CT and on PET when using LDCT (r=0.78, p<0.0001), SCT (r=0.79, p<0.0001) and ULDCT (r=0.82, p<0.0001). No differences were observed when comparing the scores assigned in the visual misalignment assessment in the three groups (p=0.12). The differences between the results from the regression analysis observed in the respective groups were not statistically significant (Kruskal-Wallis p=0.11 for r, p=0.67 for s and p=0.27 for os). The effective dose was lowest for the ULDCT.
Conclusion: Our study shows that CT-based attenuation correction is feasible for cardiac PET imaging. The results indicate that ultra-low-dose CT is the preferable choice for transmission scanning.