Accelerated GPU based SPECT Monte Carlo simulations

Phys Med Biol. 2016 Jun 7;61(11):4001-18. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/61/11/4001. Epub 2016 May 10.


Monte Carlo (MC) modelling is widely used in the field of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) as it is a reliable technique to simulate very high quality scans. This technique provides very accurate modelling of the radiation transport and particle interactions in a heterogeneous medium. Various MC codes exist for nuclear medicine imaging simulations. Recently, new strategies exploiting the computing capabilities of graphical processing units (GPU) have been proposed. This work aims at evaluating the accuracy of such GPU implementation strategies in comparison to standard MC codes in the context of SPECT imaging. GATE was considered the reference MC toolkit and used to evaluate the performance of newly developed GPU Geant4-based Monte Carlo simulation (GGEMS) modules for SPECT imaging. Radioisotopes with different photon energies were used with these various CPU and GPU Geant4-based MC codes in order to assess the best strategy for each configuration. Three different isotopes were considered: (99m) Tc, (111)In and (131)I, using a low energy high resolution (LEHR) collimator, a medium energy general purpose (MEGP) collimator and a high energy general purpose (HEGP) collimator respectively. Point source, uniform source, cylindrical phantom and anthropomorphic phantom acquisitions were simulated using a model of the GE infinia II 3/8" gamma camera. Both simulation platforms yielded a similar system sensitivity and image statistical quality for the various combinations. The overall acceleration factor between GATE and GGEMS platform derived from the same cylindrical phantom acquisition was between 18 and 27 for the different radioisotopes. Besides, a full MC simulation using an anthropomorphic phantom showed the full potential of the GGEMS platform, with a resulting acceleration factor up to 71. The good agreement with reference codes and the acceleration factors obtained support the use of GPU implementation strategies for improving computational efficiency of SPECT imaging simulations.

MeSH terms

  • Computers*
  • Gamma Cameras
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Photons
  • Software
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*