Purpose: Continuous bed motion has recently been introduced for whole-body PET/CT, and represents a paradigm shift towards individualized and flexible acquisition without the limitations of bed position-based planning. Increased patient comfort due to lack of abrupt table position changes may be another albeit still unproven advantage. For robust clinical implementation, image quality and quantitative accuracy should at least be equal to the prior standard of bed position-based step-and-shoot imaging.
Methods: The study included 68 consecutive patients referred for whole-body PET/CT for various malignancies. The patients underwent traditional step-and-shoot and novel continuous bed motion acquisition in the same session in a randomized crossover design. The patients and two independent observers were blinded to the sequence of scan techniques. Patient comfort/satisfaction was examined using a standardized questionnaire. SUVs were compared for reference tissue (liver, muscle) and tumour lesions. PET image quality and misalignment with CT images were evaluated on a scale of 1 - 4.
Results: Patients preferred continuous bed motion over step-and-shoot (P = 0.0001). It was considered to be more relaxing (38 % vs. 8 %), quieter (34 % vs. 8 %), and more fluid (64 % vs. 8 %). Image quality, SUV and CT misalignment did not differ between the techniques. Continuous bed motion resulted in better end-plane image quality (P < 0.0001). Regardless of the technique, second examinations had significantly higher tumour lesion SUVmax values (P = 0.0002), and a higher CT misalignment score (P = 0.0017).
Conclusion: Oncological PET/CT with continuous bed motion enhances patient comfort and is associated with image quality at least comparable to that with traditional bed position-based step-and-shoot acquisition.qq.
Keywords: Continuous bed motion; Hybrid imaging; PET/CT; Whole-body imaging.