PET/MRI hybrid imaging: devices and initial results

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Abstract

The combination of functional and morphological imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) has shown its value in the clinical and preclinical field. However, CT provides only very limited soft-tissue contrast and exposes the examined patient or laboratory animal to a high X-ray radiation dose. In comparison to CT, magnetic resonance tomography (MRI) provides excellent soft-tissue contrast and allows for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMRS) or functional MRI (fMRI). Thus, the combination of PET and MRI has been pursued for several years. First approaches have succeeded using conventional photo multiplier tube (PMT) technology together with light fibers to transfer scintillation light away from the high magnetic field. Latest PET/MRI developments use solid-state light detectors that can be operated even at high magnetic fields. Initial pilot studies with prototype animal PET/MRI systems have shown promising results by combining high resolution morphology with multifunctional information isochronously.

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