Purpose: Respiratory motion during PET∕CT imaging can cause substantial image blurring and underestimation of tracer concentration for both static and dynamic studies. In this study, the authors developed an event-by-event respiratory motion correction method that used three-dimensional internal-one-dimensional external motion correlation (INTEX3D) in listmode reconstruction. The authors aim to fully correct for organ/tumor-specific rigid motion caused by respiration using all detected events to eliminate both intraframe and interframe motion, and investigate the quantitative improvement in static and dynamic imaging.
Methods: The positional translation of an internal organ or tumor during respiration was first determined from the reconstructions of multiple phase-gated images. A level set (active contour) method was used to segment the targeted internal organs/tumors whose centroids were determined. The mean displacement of the external respiratory signal acquired by the Anzai system that corresponded to each phase-gated frame was determined. Three linear correlations between the 1D Anzai mean displacements and the 3D centroids of the internal organ/tumor were established. The 3D internal motion signal with high temporal resolution was then generated by applying each of the three correlation functions to the entire Anzai trace (40 Hz) to guide event-by-event motion correction in listmode reconstruction. The reference location was determined as the location where CT images were acquired to facilitate phase-matched attenuation correction and anatomical-based postfiltering. The proposed method was evaluated with a NEMA phantom driven by a QUASAR respiratory motion platform, and human studies with two tracers: pancreatic beta cell tracer [(18)F]FP(+)DTBZ and tumor hypoxia tracer [(18)F]fluoromisonidazole (FMISO). An anatomical-based postreconstruction filter was applied to the motion-corrected images to reduce noise while preserving quantitative accuracy and organ boundaries in the patient studies.
Results: The INTEX3D method yielded an increase of 5%-9% and 32%-40% in contrast recovery coefficient on the hot spheres in the NEMA phantom, compared to the reconstructions with only 1D motion correction (INTEX1D) and no motion correction, respectively. The proposed method also increased the mean activities of the pancreas and kidney by 9.3% and 11.2%, respectively, across three subjects in the FPDTBZ studies, and the average lesion-to-blood ratio by 20% across three lesions in the FMISO study, compared to the reconstructions without motion correction. In addition, the proposed method reduced intragate motion as compared to phase-gated images. The application of the anatomical-based postreconstruction filter further reduced noise in the background by >50% compared to reconstructions without postfiltering, while preserving quantitative accuracy and organ boundaries. Finally, the measurements of the time-activity curves from a subject with FPDTBZ showed that INTEX3D yielded 18% and 11% maximum increases in tracer concentration in the pancreas and kidney cortex, respectively.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the proposed method can effectively compensate for both intragate and intergate respiratory motion while preserving all the counts, and is applicable to dynamic studies.