What validation tests can be done by the clinical medical physicist while waiting for the standardization of quantitative SPECT/CT imaging?

EJNMMI Phys. 2022 Feb 5;9(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s40658-022-00434-6.


Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the accuracy of quantitative SPECT/CT imaging in a clinical setting and to compare test results from two nuclear medicine departments.

Methods: Phantom studies were carried out with two gamma cameras manufactured by GE Healthcare: Discovery NM/CT 670 and NM/CT 850, used in two nuclear medicine departments. The data were collected using a cylindrical uniform phantom and a NEMA/IEC NU2 Body Phantom, filled with 99mTc-pertechnetate.

Results: The convergence of activity concentration recovery was validated for the two gamma cameras operating in two medical centers using the cylindrical uniform phantom. The comparison of results revealed a 5% difference in the background calibration factor Bg. cal; 6% difference in COV, and a 0.6% difference in total activity deviation ∆Atot. Recovery coefficients (RCmax) for activity concentration in spheres of the NEMA/IEC NU2 Body Phantom were measured for different image reconstruction techniques. RCmax was in the range of 0.2-0.4 for the smallest sphere (ϕ 10 mm), and 1.3-1.4 for the largest sphere (ϕ 37 mm). Conversion factors for SUVmax and SUVmean for the gamma camera systems used were 0.99 and 1.13, respectively.

Conclusions: (1) Measurements taken in our study confirmed the clinical suitability of 5 parameters of image quality (Bg. cal-background calibration factor, ∆Atot-total activity deviation, COV-coefficient of variation used for image noise assessment, QH-hot contrast, AM-accuracy of measurements, or RC-recovery coefficient) for the validation of SPECT/CT system performance in terms of correct quantitative acquisitions of images. (2) This work shows that absolute SPECT/CT quantification is achievable in clinical nuclear medicine centers. Results variation of quantitative analyses between centers is mainly related to the use of different reconstruction methods. (3) It is necessary to standardize the technique of measuring the SUV conversion factor obtained with different SPECT/CT scanners.

Keywords: Absolute SUV; Absolute quantification; QSPECT; SPECT/CT.