Effects of injected dose, BMI and scanner type on NECR and image noise in PET imaging

Phys Med Biol. 2011 Aug 21;56(16):5275-85. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/16/013. Epub 2011 Jul 26.


Noise equivalent count rate (NECR) and image noise are two different but related metrics that have been used to predict and assess image quality, respectively. The aim of this study is to investigate, using patient studies, the relationships between injected dose (ID), body mass index (BMI) and scanner type on NECR and image noise measurements in PET imaging. Two groups of 90 patients each were imaged on a GE DSTE and a DRX PET/CT scanner, respectively. The patients in each group were divided into nine subgroups according to three BMI (20-24.9, 25-29.9, 30-45 kg m(-2)) and three ID (296-444, 444-555, 555-740 MBq) ranges, resulting in ten patients/subgroup. All PET data were acquired in 3D mode and reconstructed using the VuePoint HD® fully 3D OSEM algorithm (2 iterations, 21(DRX) or 20 (DSTE) subsets). NECR and image noise measurements for bed positions covering the liver were calculated for each patient. NECR was calculated from the trues, randoms and scatter events recorded in the DICOM header of each patient study, while image noise was determined as the standard deviation of 50 non-neighboring voxels in the liver of each patient. A t-test compared the NECR and image noise for different scanners but with the same BMI and ID. An ANOVA test on the other hand was used to compare the results of patients with different BMI but the same ID and scanner type as well as different ID but the same BMI and scanner type. As expected the t-test showed a significant difference in NECR between the two scanners for all BMI and ID subgroups. However, contrary to what is expected no such findings were observed for image noise measurement. The ANOVA results showed a statistically significant difference in both NECR and image noise among the different BMI for each ID and scanner subgroup. However, there was no statistically significant difference in NECR and image noise across different ID for each BMI and scanner subgroup. Although the GE DRX PET/CT scanner has better count rate performance than the GE DSTE PET/CT scanner, this improvement does not translate to a lower image noise when using OSEM reconstruction. Our results show that patients with larger BMI consistently generate poorer image quality. Dose reduction from >555 to 296-444 MBq has minimal impact on image quality independent of the scanner used. A reduction in ID decreases patient and technologist exposure and can potentially reduce the overall cost of the study.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / instrumentation*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed