Optimized image acquisition for dopamine transporter imaging with ultra-high resolution clinical pinhole SPECT

Phys Med Biol. 2018 Nov 7;63(22):225002. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aae76c.


SPECT can be used to image dopamine transporter (DaT) availability in the human striatum, e.g. for diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (PD). As traditional SPECT provides limited resolution and sensitivity, we proposed a full ring focusing multi-pinhole SPECT system (G-SPECT-I (Beekman 2015 Eur. J. Nucl. Med. Mol. Imaging 42 S209)) which demonstrated a 2.5 mm reconstructed resolution in phantom scans. G-SPECT-I achieves data completeness in the scan region of interest by translating the patient bed with an xyz-stage and combining projections from all bed positions into image reconstruction using a scanning focus method (SFM). This paper aims to develop dedicated SFM parameters for performing a DaTscan with high effective sensitivity and appropriate sampling. To this end, the axial scanning length was restricted and transaxial bed trajectories with a reduced number of positions based on a convex hull data-completeness model were tested. Quantitative accuracy was assessed using full G-SPECT-I simulations of an Alderson phantom based on measured system matrices. For each sampling strategy, the specific binding ratio (SBR) and asymmetry index (AI) in the left and right striatum, as well as the Localized SBR (L-SBR) and the Localized AI (L-AI) in eight striatal sub-regions were calculated and compared to those of the reference scan which performs full brain oversampling using 112 bed positions. Results show that structures essential for PD diagnosis were visually and quantitatively barely affected even when using the lowest number of bed translations (i.e. 4). The maximum deviation from the reference was only 1.5%, 1.5%, 5.5% and 7.0% for the SBR, AI, L-SBR and L-AI, respectively, when 4 positions were used. Thus, it is possible to perform an accurate DaTscan with a confined axial scan region and a limited number of focused bed positions. This enables protocols for extremely fast dynamic SPECT scans with less than half-minute time frames, which can be useful for motion correction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Neostriatum / diagnostic imaging
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / standards


  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins