SPECT/CT imaging using a spiral CT scanner for anatomical localization: Impact on diagnostic accuracy and reporter confidence in clinical practice

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PurposeTo evaluate the incremental benefit in routine clinical practice of computed tomography (CT) scans acquired for anatomical localization on an integrated SPECT/CT which incorporates a spiral CT scanner, in comparison with conventional planar and SPECT scanning.MethodsThe first 50 studies acquired on the integrated system were evaluated by two experienced nuclear medicine physicians who were aware of the patient's clinical history. These included bone scans, gallium scans, octreotide scans, sestamibi parathyroid scans and MIBG scans. For each patient study, abnormalities were assessed on planar and SPECT images for location and provisional diagnosis and a quantitative scale was used to assess reporter confidence. The fused SPECT/CT images were then reviewed and the location and provisional diagnosis noted and reporter confidence was assessed using the same quantitative scale.ResultsThere were 129 abnormalities detected in 50 patient studies. For localization of abnormalities, the inclusion of the CT resulted in a minor change in 16% of cases and a significant change in 11% over planar/SPECT imaging alone. The confidence of localization was improved moderately in 19% and improved significantly in 6%. For diagnosis, SPECT/CT resulted in a minor change in 10% and a significant change in 9% over planar/SPECT imaging. The confidence of diagnosis was improved moderately in 10% and improved significantly in a further 10% of cases. For the final scan interpretation, there would have been no change in 44% patients, a minor change in 30% and a significant change in 26% with the use of SPECT/CT.ConclusionUse of integrated SPECT/CT with a high spatial resolution, spiral CT used for anatomical localization improves accuracy and reporter confidence in clinical practice. As a result, final reports were different in 56% of the cases, including being significantly different in 26% patients compared to reporting with planar/SPECT alone.

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