Quantification of myocardial uptake rate constants in dynamic small-animal SPECT using a cardiac phantom

Phys Med Biol. 2019 Mar 14;64(6):065018. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/ab0472.


Myocardial blood flow and myocardial blood flow reserve (MBFR) measurements are often used clinically to quantify coronary microvascular function. Developing imaging-based methods to measure MBFR for research in mice would be advantageous for evaluating new treatment methods for coronary microvascular disease (CMVD), yet this is more challenging in mice than in humans. This work investigates microSPECT's quantitative capabilities of cardiac imaging by utilizing a multi-part cardiac phantom and applying a known kinetic model to synthesize kinetic data from static data, allowing for assessment of kinetic modeling accuracy. The phantom was designed with four main components: two left-ventricular (LV) myocardial sections and two LV blood-pool sections, sized for end-systole (ES) and end-diastole (ED). Each section of the phantom was imaged separately while acquiring list-mode data. These static, separate-compartment data were manipulated into synthetic dynamic data using a kinetic model representing the myocardium and blood-pool activity concentrations over time and then combined into a set of dynamic image frames and reconstructed. Regions of interest were drawn on the resulting images, and kinetic parameters were estimated. This process was performed for three tracer uptake values (K 1), three myocardial wall thicknesses, ten filter parameters, and 20 iterations for 25 noise ensembles. The degree of filtering and iteration number were optimized to minimize the root mean-squared error (RMSE) of K 1 values, with the largest number of iterations and minimal filtering yielding the lowest error. Using the optimized parameters, K 1 was determined with reasonable error (~3% RMSE) over all wall thicknesses and K 1 input values. This work demonstrates that accurate and precise measurements of K 1 are possible for the U-SPECT+ system used in this study, for several different uptake rates and LV dimensions. Additionally, it allows for future investigation utilizing other imaging systems, including PET studies with any radiotracer, as well as with additional phantom parts containing lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*