CT-free attenuation correction for dedicated cardiac SPECT using a 3D dual squeeze-and-excitation residual dense network

J Nucl Cardiol. 2021 Jun 3. doi: 10.1007/s12350-021-02672-0. Online ahead of print.


Background: Attenuation correction (AC) using CT transmission scanning enables the accurate quantitative analysis of dedicated cardiac SPECT. However, AC is challenging for SPECT-only scanners. We developed a deep learning-based approach to generate synthetic AC images from SPECT images without AC.

Methods: CT-free AC was implemented using our customized Dual Squeeze-and-Excitation Residual Dense Network (DuRDN). 172 anonymized clinical hybrid SPECT/CT stress/rest myocardial perfusion studies were used in training, validation, and testing. Additional body mass index (BMI), gender, and scatter-window information were encoded as channel-wise input to further improve the network performance.

Results: Quantitative and qualitative analysis based on image voxels and 17-segment polar map showed the potential of our approach to generate consistent SPECT AC images. Our customized DuRDN showed superior performance to conventional network design such as U-Net. The averaged voxel-wise normalized mean square error (NMSE) between the predicted AC images by DuRDN and the ground-truth AC images was 2.01 ± 1.01%, as compared to 2.23 ± 1.20% by U-Net.

Conclusions: Our customized DuRDN facilitates dedicated cardiac SPECT AC without CT scanning. DuRDN can efficiently incorporate additional patient information and may achieve better performance compared to conventional U-Net.

Keywords: Myocardial perfusion imaging; SPECT/CT; attenuation correction; deep learning.