A novel quality control and quality assurance device provides time-activity curves that can identify and characterize PET/CT radiotracer infiltration at the injection site during the uptake phase. The purpose of this study was to compare rates of infiltration detected by the device with rates detected by physicians. We also assessed the value of using the device to improve injection results in our center. Methods: 109 subjects consented to the study. All had passive device sensors applied to their skin near the injection site and mirrored on the contralateral arm during the entire uptake period. Nuclear medicine physicians reviewed standard images for the presence of dose infiltration. Sensor-generated time-activity curves were independently examined and then compared with the physician reports. Injection data captured by the software were analyzed, and the results were provided to the technologists. Improvement measures were implemented, and rates were remeasured. Results: Physician review of the initial 40 head-to-toe field-of-view images identified 15 cases (38%) of dose infiltration (9 minor, 5 moderate, and 1 significant). Sensor time-activity curves on these 40 cases independently identified 22 cases (55%) of dose infiltration (16 minor, 5 moderate, and 1 significant). After the time-activity curve results and the contributing factor analysis were shared with technologists, injection techniques were modified and an additional 69 cases were studied. Of these, physician review identified 17 cases (25%) of infiltration (13 minor, 3 moderate, and 1 significant), a 34% decline. Sensor time-activity curves identified 4 cases (6%) of infiltration (2 minor and 2 moderate), an 89% decline. Conclusion: The device provides valuable quality control information for each subject. Time-activity curves can further characterize visible infiltration. Even when the injection site was out of the field of view, the time-activity curves could still detect and characterize infiltration. Our initial experience showed that the quality assurance information obtained from the device helped reduce the rate and severity of infiltration. The device revealed site-specific contributing factors that helped nuclear medicine physicians and technologists customize their quality improvement efforts to these site-specific issues. Reducing infiltration can improve image quality and SUV quantification, as well as the ability to minimize variability in a site's PET/CT results.
Keywords: 18F-FDG; PET/CT; infiltration; quality assurance; quality control.
© 2017 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.