Automated quality control in nuclear medicine using the structured noise index.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Daily flood-field uniformity evaluation serves as the central element of nuclear medicine (NM) quality control (QC) programs. Uniformity images are traditionally analyzed using pixel value-based metrics, that is, integral uniformity (IU), which often fail to capture subtle structure and patterns caused by changes in gamma camera performance, requiring visual inspections which are subjective and time demanding. The goal of this project was to implement an advanced QC metrology for NM to effectively identify nonuniformity issues, and report issues in a timely manner for efficient correction prior to clinical use. The project involved the implementation of the program over a 2-year period at a multisite major medical institution. METHODS: Using a previously developed quantitative uniformity analysis metric, the structured noise index (SNI) [Nelson et al. (2014), \textit{J Nucl Med.}, \textbf{55}:169-174], an automated QC process was developed to analyze, archive, and report on daily NM QC uniformity images. Clinical implementation of the newly developed program ran in parallel with the manufacturer's reported IU-based QC program. The effectiveness of the SNI program was evaluated over a 21-month period using sensitivity and coefficient of variation statistics. RESULTS: A total of 7365 uniformity QC images were analyzed. Lower level SNI alerts were generated in 12.5% of images and upper level alerts in 1.7%. Intervention due to image quality issues occurred on 26 instances; the SNI metric identified 24, while the IU metric identified eight. The SNI metric reported five upper level alerts where no clinical engineering intervention was deemed necessary. CONCLUSION: An SNI-based QC program provides a robust quantification of the performance of gamma camera uniformity. It operates seamlessly across a fleet of multiple camera models and, additionally, provides effective workflow among the clinical staff. The reliability of this process could eliminate the need for visual inspection of each image, saving valuable time, while enabling quantitative analysis of inter- and intrasystem performance.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nelson, JS; Samei, E

Published Date

  • April 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 80 - 86

PubMed ID

  • 32277546

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7170291

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-9914

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/acm2.12850


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States