Quality of brain perfusion single-photon emission tomography images: multicentre evaluation using an anatomically accurate three-dimensional phantom

Eur J Nucl Med. 1998 Oct;25(10):1415-22. doi: 10.1007/s002590050317.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the quality of routine brain perfusion single-photon emission tomography (SPET) images in Finnish nuclear medicine laboratories. Twelve laboratories participated in the study. A three-dimensional high resolution brain phantom (Data Spectrum's 3D Hoffman Brain Phantom) was filled with a well-mixed solution of technetium-99m (110 MBq), water and detergent. Acquisition, reconstruction and printing were performed according to the clinical routine in each centre. Three nuclear medicine specialists blindly evaluated all image sets. The results were ranked from 1 to 5 (poor quality-high quality). Also a SPET performance phantom (Nuclear Associates' PET/SPECT Performance Phantom PS 101) was filled with the same radioactivity concentration as the brain phantom. The parameters for the acquisition, the reconstruction and the printing were exactly the same as with the brain phantom. The number of detected "hot" (from 0 to 8) and "cold" lesions (from 0 to 7) was visually evaluated from hard copies. Resolution and contrast were quantified from digital images. Average score for brain phantom images was 2.7 +/- 0.8 (range 1.5-4.5). The average diameter of the "hot" cylinders detected was 16 mm (range 9.2-20.0 mm) and that of the "cold" cylinders detected, 11 mm (5.9-14.3 mm) according to visual evaluation. Quantification of digital images showed that the hard copy was one reason for low-quality images. The quality of the hard copies was good only in four laboratories and was amazingly low in the others when comparing it with the actual structure of the brain phantom. The described quantification method is suitable for optimizing resolution and contrast detectability of hard copies. This study revealed the urgent need for external quality assurance of clinical brain perfusion SPET images.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / standards*