Purpose: The aim of this work was the assessment of the physical performance of the new hybrid PET∕CT system: Discovery-690.
Methods: The Discovery-690 combines a lutetium-yttrium-orthosilicate (LYSO) block detector designed PET tomograph with a 64-slice CT scanner. The system is further characterized by a dedicated powerful computing platform implementing fully 3D-PET iterative reconstruction algorithms. These algorithms can account for time of flight (TOF) information and∕or a 3D model of the PET point spread function (PSF). PET physical performance was measured following NEMA NU-2-2007 procedures. Furthermore, specific tests were used: (i) to measure the energy and timing resolution of the PET system and (ii) to evaluate image quality, by using phantoms representing different clinical conditions (e.g., brain and whole body). Data processing and reconstructions were performed as required by standard procedures. Further reconstructions were carried out to evaluate the performance of the new reconstruction algorithms. In particular, four algorithms were considered for the reconstruction of the PET data: (i) HD = standard configuration, without TOF and PSF, (ii) TOF = HD + TOF, (iii) PSF = HD + PSF, and (iv) TOFPSF = HD + TOF + PSF.
Results: The transverse (axial) spatial resolution values were 4.70 (4.74) mm and 5.06 (5.55) mm at 1 cm and 10 cm off axis, respectively. Sensitivity (average between 0 and 10 cm) was 7.5 cps∕kBq. The noise equivalent count rate (NECR) peak was 139.1 kcps at 29.0 kBq∕ml. The scatter fraction at the NECR peak was 37%. The correction accuracy for the dead time losses and random event counts had a maximum absolute error below the NECR peak of 2.09%. The average energy and timing resolution were 12.4% and 544.3 ps, respectively. PET image quality was evaluated with the NEMA IEC Body phantom by using four reconstruction algorithms (HD, TOF, PSF, and TOFPSF), as previously described. The hot contrast (after 3 iterations and for a lesion∕background activity ratio of 4:1) for the spheres of 10, 13, 17, and 22 mm was (HD) 29.8, 45.4, 55.4, and 68.1%; (TOF) 39.9, 53.5, 62.7, and 72.2%; (PSF) 28.3, 47.3, 60.4, and 71.8%; (TOFPSF) 43.8, 62.9, 70.6, and 76.4%. The cold contrast for the spheres of 28 and 37 mm was (HD) 62.4 and 65.2%; (TOF) 77.1 and 81.4%; (PSF) 62.0 and 65.2%; (TOFPSF) 77.3 and 81.6%. Similar hot and cold contrast trends were found during the analyses of other phantoms representing different clinical conditions (brain and whole body). Nevertheless, the authors observed a predominant role of either TOF or PSF, depending on the specific characteristics and dimensions of the phantoms.
Conclusions: Discovery-690 shows very good PET physical performance for all the standard NEMA NU-2-2007 measurements. Furthermore, the new reconstruction algorithms available for PET data (TOF and PSF) allow further improvements of the D-690 image quality performance both qualitatively and quantitatively.