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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Improving attenuation corrections obtained using singles-mode transmission data in small-animal PET Vandervoort, Eric


The images in positron emission tomography (PET) represent three dimensional dynamic distributions of biologically interesting molecules labelled with positron emitting radionuclides (radiotracers). Spatial localisation of the radio-tracers is achieved by detecting in coincidence two collinear photons which are emitted when the positron annihilates with an ordinary electron. In order to obtain quantitatively accurate images in PET, it is necessary to correct for the effects of photon attenuation within the subject being imaged. These corrections can be obtained using singles-mode photon transmission scanning. Although suitable for small animal PET, these scans are subject to high amounts of contamination from scattered photons. Currently, no accurate correction exists to account for scatter in these data. The primary purpose of this work was to implement and validate an analytical scatter correction for PET transmission scanning. In order to isolate the effects of scatter, we developed a simulation tool which was validated using experimental transmission data. We then presented an analytical scatter correction for singles-mode transmission data in PET. We compared our scatter correction data with the previously validated simulation data for uniform and non-uniform phantoms and for two different transmission source radionuclides. Our scatter calculation correctly predicted the contribution from scattered photons to the simulated data for all phantoms and both transmission sources. We then applied our scatter correction as part of an iterative reconstruction algorithm for simulated and experimental PET transmission data for uniform and non-uniform phantoms. We also tested our reconstruction and scatter correction procedure using transmission data for several animal studies (mice, rats and primates). For all studies considered, we found that the average reconstructed linear attenuation coefficients for water or soft-tissue regions of interest agreed with expected values to within 4%. Using a 2.2 GHz processor, the scatter correction required between 6 to 27 minutes of CPU time (without any code optimisation) depending on the phantom size and source used. This extra calculation time does not seem unreasonable considering that, without scatter corrections, errors in the reconstructed attenuation coefficients were between 18 to 45% depending on the phantom size and transmission source used.

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