Motion artifacts occurring at the lung/diaphragm interface using 4D CT attenuation correction of 4D PET scans

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For PET/CT, fast CT acquisition time can lead to errors in attenuation correction, particularly at the lung/diaphragm interface. Gated 4D PET can reduce motion artifacts, though residual artifacts may persist depending on the CT dataset used for attenuation correction. We performed phantom studies to evaluate 4D PET images of targets near a density interface using three different methods for attenuation correction: a single 3D CT (3D CTAC), an averaged 4D CT (CINE CTAC), and a fully phase matched 4D CT (4D CTAC). A phantom was designed with two density regions corresponding to diaphragm and lung. An 8 mL sphere phantom loaded with 18F-FDG was used to represent a lung tumor and background FDG included at an 8:1 ratio. Motion patterns of Symbol and Symbol were used for dynamic studies. Image data was acquired using a GE Discovery DVCT-PET/CT scanner. Attenuation correction methods were compared based on normalized recovery coefficient (NRC), as well as a novel quantity “fixed activity volume” (FAV) introduced in our report. Image metrics were compared to those determined from a 3D PET scan with no motion present (3D STATIC). Values of FAV and NRC showed significant variation over the motion cycle when corrected by 3D CTAC images. 4D CTAC- and CINE CTAC–corrected PET images reduced these motion artifacts. The amount of artifact reduction is greater when the target is surrounded by lower density material and when motion was based on Symbol. 4D CTAC reduced artifacts more than CINE CTAC for most scenarios. For a target surrounded by water equivalent material, there was no advantage to 4D CTAC over CINE CTAC when using the Symbol motion pattern. Attenuation correction using both 4D CTAC or CINE CTAC can reduce motion artifacts in regions that include a tissue interface such as the lung/diaphragm border. 4D CTAC is more effective than CINE CTAC at reducing artifacts in some, but not all, scenarios.

PACS numbers: 87.57.qp, 87.57.cp

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