An evidence-based review of quantitative SPECT imaging and potential clinical applications

J Nucl Med. 2013 Jan;54(1):83-9. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.112.111476.


SPECT has traditionally been regarded as nonquantitative. Advances in multimodality γ-cameras (SPECT/CT), algorithms for image reconstruction, and sophisticated compensation techniques to correct for photon attenuation and scattering have, however, now made quantitative SPECT viable in a manner similar to quantitative PET (i.e., kBq cm(-3), standardized uptake value). This review examines the evidence for quantitative SPECT and demonstrates clinical studies in which the accuracy of the reconstructed SPECT data has been assessed in vivo. SPECT reconstructions using CT-based compensation corrections readily achieve accuracy for (99m)Tc to within ± 10% of the known concentration of the radiotracer in vivo. Quantification with other radionuclides is also being introduced. SPECT continues to suffer from poorer photon detection efficiency (sensitivity) and spatial resolution than PET; however, it has the benefit in some situations of longer radionuclide half-lives, which may better suit the biologic process under examination, as well as the ability to perform multitracer studies using pulse height spectroscopy to separate different radiolabels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*