Characterization of septal penetration in 511 keV SPECT.
BACKGROUND: Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with 511 keV photons is a challenging modality and collimators for this purpose require trade-offs among resolution, sensitivity and septal penetration. While PET is the modality of choice for imaging at 511 keV, there are some procedures, e.g., dual-isotope imaging, in which 511 keV SPECT has a role. AIM: To measure the imaging properties of a VPC-93 SPECT collimator designed for imaging at 511 keV and to isolate the effects of septal penetration. METHODS: NaI gamma camera projection images of (18)F (511 keV) and (99m)Tc (140 keV) point sources were measured and the corresponding modulation transfer functions calculated. The projection images were reconstructed via filtered back-projection to obtain the tomographic three-dimensional (3-D) point spread function. Differences between the 511 and 140 keV results were attributed mainly to septal penetration. Contrast measurements were made separately using (18)F and (99m)Tc of a 20 cm phantom containing hot spheres and a warm background. Both isotopes were also used in imaging studies of a 3-D Hoffman brain phantom. RESULTS: Reconstructed 511 keV point source images were spatially extended with more than half of the total reconstructed counts appearing away from the point source region. The number of false counts contained in the image as a function of distance from the true source location remains approximately constant for large distances out to at least 14 cm. Septal penetration results in a rapid roll-off with spatial frequency of collimator response. The response of the collimator to 511 keV photons falls to half of its 0-frequency response at 0.03 cm(-1). For 140 keV photons this value is 0.20 cm(-1). A result is reduced image contrast as measured in the phantom sphere studies. Septal penetration causes image degradation through large-scale blurring. Image noise characteristics are modified and correlations are extended into many transaxial planes. CONCLUSIONS: Both 2-D and 3-D point spread functions for 511 and 140 keV photons using the VPC-93 collimator have been measured. Septal penetration unfavourably affects image resolution and changes image noise characteristics. Without compensation, the effects of septal penetration are readily apparent in images of real objects.
Laymon, CM; Turkington, TG
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