Three-pinhole collimator to improve axial spatial resolution and sensitivity in pinhole SPECT

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PurposeThe aim of this study was to improve the uniformity of the axial spatial resolution and sensitivity in pinhole single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and to extend the axial field of view, by using a dedicated three-pinhole collimator.MethodsA rectangular tungsten plate with three pinhole apertures of 1.5 mm diameter was designed to image a cylindrical field of view of 55 mm diameter and 160 mm axial length using a clinical gamma camera. To evaluate the non-uniformity of spatial resolution and noise, a multiple-disk phantom was built. The phantom was filled with Tc-99m, and data were acquired using a circular orbit and reconstructed with a dedicated iterative reconstruction algorithm. The axial spatial resolution together with the noise was measured in each disk. These measurements were compared to a single-pinhole system using an identical acquisition geometry and reconstruction.ResultsAt the central slice, a spatial resolution of 2.7 mm was observed for both the three-pinhole and single-pinhole geometries. At 17.5 mm from the central slice, the axial spatial resolution deteriorated to 10.3 mm when using a single pinhole, while the spatial resolution remained 2.7 mm for the three-pinhole system. In the central slice, 19% noise was observed for both geometries. At 31.5 mm from this central slice, the noise remained 19% for the three-pinhole geometry, while it increased to 32% using a single pinhole.ConclusionThe presented three-pinhole collimator improves the uniformity of the axial spatial resolution and sensitivity in pinhole SPECT and consequently extends the axial field of view, a requirement for whole-body small-animal imaging.

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