Murine cardiac images obtained with focusing pinhole SPECT are barely influenced by extra-cardiac activity

Phys Med Biol. 2012 Feb 7;57(3):717-32. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/3/717. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Ultra-high-resolution SPECT images can be obtained with focused multipinhole collimators. Here we investigate the influence of unwanted high tracer uptake outside the scan volume on reconstructed tracer distributions inside the scan volume, for (99m)Tc-tetrofosmin myocardial perfusion scanning in mice. Simulated projections of a digital mouse phantom (MOBY) in a focusing multipinhole SPECT system (U-SPECT-II, MILabs, The Netherlands) were generated. With this system differently sized user-defined scan volumes can be selected, by translating the animal in 3D through the focusing collimators. Scan volume selections were set to (i) a minimal volume containing just the heart, acquired without translating the animal during scanning, (ii) a slightly larger scan volume as is typically applied for the heart, requiring only small XYZ translations during scanning, (iii) same as (ii), but extended further transaxially, and (iv) same as (ii), but extended transaxially to cover the full thorax width (gold standard). Despite an overall negative bias that is significant for the minimal scan volume, all selected volumes resulted in visually similar images. Quantitative differences in the reconstructed myocardium between gold standard and the results from the smaller scan volume selections were small; the 17 standardized myocardial segments of a bull's eye plot, normalized to the myocardial mean of the gold standard, deviated on average 6.0%, 2.5% and 1.9% for respectively the minimal, the typical and the extended scan volume, while maximum absolute deviations were respectively 18.6%, 9.0% and 5.2%. Averaged over ten low-count noisy simulations, the mean absolute deviations were respectively 7.9%, 3.2% and 1.9%. In low-count noisy simulations, the mean and maximum absolute deviations for the minimal scan volume could be reduced to respectively 4.2% and 12.5% by performing a short survey scan of the exterior activity and focusing the remaining scan time at the organ of interest. We conclude that reconstructed tracer distribution in the myocardium can be influenced by activity in surrounding organs when a too narrow scan volume is used. With slightly larger scan volumes this problem is adequately suppressed. This approach produced a smaller mean deviation and may be more effective than employing a narrow scan volume with an additional survey scan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Kinetics
  • Mice
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*