Patient motion in thallium-201 myocardial SPECT imaging. An easily identified frequent source of artifactual defect

Clin Nucl Med. 1988 May;13(5):321-4. doi: 10.1097/00003072-198805000-00001.


Because Tl-201 SPECT requires that patients remain in an awkward position for a prolonged time, patient motion is a potentially serious source of artifactual defects on tomographic reconstructions. Thus, a simple method was developed for detection and correction of motion from SPECT images using a Co-57 point source placed on the lower anterior chest, an area remaining in the camera's field of view throughout imaging. In the absence of motion, this point source inscribes a straight line on planar summation of the 32 projections over 180 degrees. Movement is detected by deviation from this line. The number of pixels of motion is used to shift images so that the resultant images of the point source are linear. The method of motion detection and correction was tested in 48 consecutive patients undergoing Tl-201 SPECT. The corrected and uncorrected images were reconstructed and long and short axis tomographic cuts were quantitatively analyzed using circumferential profiles of maximal counts with comparison to the lower limits of normal. Motion was detected in eight of 48 patients (17%). The amount of motion was 2 pixels in three patients and 1 pixel in five patients. Quantitative defect extent was less after correction in seven of eight patients, with a mean decrease of 71% in patients with 2 pixel motion and 44% in patients with 1 pixel motion. This corresponded with a definite reduction in the size of the tomographic defect by visual analysis, and closer resemblance to quantitatively analyzed planar images performed either before or after tomography in the same patient.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Thallium Radioisotopes*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods*


  • Thallium Radioisotopes