Image-quality assessment for several positron emitters using the NEMA NU 4-2008 standards in the Siemens Inveon small-animal PET scanner

J. Disselhorst, M. Brom, P. Laverman, C. Slump, O. Boerman, W. Oyen, M. Gotthardt and E. Visser

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Apr, 2010



The positron emitters (18)F, (68)Ga, (124)I, and (89)Zr are all relevant in small-animal PET. Each of these radionuclides has different positron energies and ranges and a different fraction of single photons emitted. Average positron ranges larger than the intrinsic spatial resolution of the scanner (for (124)I and (68)Ga) will deteriorate the effective spatial resolution and activity recovery coefficient (RC) for small lesions or phantom structures. The presence of single photons (for (124)I and (89)Zr) could increase image noise and spillover ratios (SORs).Image noise, expressed as percentage SD in a uniform region (\%SD), RC, and SOR (in air and water) were determined using the NEMA NU 4 small-animal image-quality phantom filled with 3.7 MBq of total activity of (18)F, (68)Ga, (124)I, or (89)Zr. Filtered backprojection (FBP), ordered-subset expectation maximization in 2 dimensions, and maximum a posteriori (MAP) reconstructions were compared. In addition to the NEMA NU 4 image-quality parameters, spatial resolutions were determined using small glass capillaries filled with these radionuclides in a water environment.The \%SD for (18)F, (68)Ga, (124)I, and (89)Zr using FBP was 6.27, 6.40, 6.74, and 5.83, respectively. The respective RCs were 0.21, 0.11, 0.12, and 0.19 for the 1-mm-diameter rod and 0.97, 0.65, 0.64, and 0.88 for the 5-mm-diameter rod. SORs in air were 0.01, 0.03, 0.04, and 0.01, respectively, and in water 0.02, 0.10, 0.13, and 0.02. Other reconstruction algorithms gave similar differences between the radionuclides. MAP produced the highest RCs. For the glass capillaries using FBP, the full widths at half maximum for (18)F, (68)Ga, (124)I, and (89)Zr were 1.81, 2.46, 2.38, and 1.99 mm, respectively. The corresponding full widths at tenth maximum were 3.57, 6.52, 5.87, and 4.01 mm.With the intrinsic spatial resolution (approximately 1.5 mm) of this latest-generation small-animal PET scanner, the finite positron range has become the limiting factor for the overall spatial resolution and activity recovery in small structures imaged with (124)I and (68)Ga. The presence of single photons had only a limited effect on the image noise. MAP, as compared with the other reconstruction algorithms, increased RC and decreased \%SD and SOR.