A comparison of MR-based attenuation correction in PET versus SPECT

Phys Med Biol. 2011 Jul 21;56(14):4613-29. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/14/024. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


Attenuation correction (AC) is a critical step in the reconstruction of quantitatively accurate positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) images. Several groups have proposed magnetic resonance (MR)-based AC algorithms for application in hybrid PET/MR systems. However, none of these approaches have been tested on SPECT data. Since SPECT/MR systems are under active development, it is important to ascertain whether MR-based AC algorithms validated for PET can be applied to SPECT. To investigate this issue, two imaging experiments were performed: one with an anthropomorphic chest phantom and one with two groups of canines. Both groups of canines were imaged from neck to abdomen, one with PET/CT and MR (n = 4) and the other with SPECT/CT and MR (n = 4), while the phantom was imaged with all modalities. The quality of the nuclear medicine reconstructions using MR-based attenuation maps was compared between PET and SPECT on global and local scales. In addition, the sensitivity of these reconstructions to variations in the attenuation map was ascertained. On both scales, it was found that the SPECT reconstructions were of higher fidelity than the PET reconstructions. Further, they were less sensitive to changes to the MR-based attenuation map. Thus, MR-based AC algorithms that have been designed for PET/MR can be expected to demonstrate improved performance when used for SPECT/MR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*