Clinical Applications of Hybrid PET/MRI in Neuroimaging

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Abstract

Purpose

We tested the performance and clinical applicability of combined protocols for brain imaging studies acquired on a new whole-body hybrid PET/MR scanner.

Patients and Methods

Fifteen patients [6 male and 9 female patients; mean (SD) age, 51 (30) y; range, 6–89 y] were scanned on a Philips Ingenuity TF PET/MR. Standard imaging protocols of both modalities were combined, using a “head coil” and contrast-enhanced fully diagnostic MR protocols. Attenuation correction of the PET images was performed using tissue segmentation of the MR image and incorporation of attenuation templates measured for coils and table.

Patients and Methods

The clinical indications evaluated are as follows: patients with cognitive disturbance of suspected neurodegenerative origin, presurgical evaluation of drug-refractory epilepsy, and brain tumor staging. For the first 2 indications, FDG PET imaging was performed, whereas for the last, fluoroethyltyrosine, an amino acid tracer, was used.

Results

In all cases (4 patients with neurodegenerative disease, 6 patients with epilepsy, and 5 patients with high-grade tumor), we obtained full diagnostic quality of both modalities and the total duration of the examination remained within a tolerable range (<2 hours). Twelve subjects had pathological findings: 11 of which were confirmed by clinical follow-up as true positive and 1 was confirmed as a false-positive result. For the 3 normal studies, the clinical follow-up confirmed the imaging findings as true-negative.

Conclusions

Acquiring both PET and MR in a single session on a hybrid system minimized patient discomfort while maximizing clinical information and optimizing registration of both modalities. In addition, in comparison to PET/CT, the effective dose (related to CT) was reduced, and this is particularly beneficial in the pediatric population.

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