Respiratory motion compensation in interventional liver SPECT using simultaneous fluoroscopic and nuclear imaging

Dietze, Martijn M.A., Bastiaannet, Remco, Kunnen, Britt, van der Velden, Sandra, Lam, Marnix G.E.H., Viergever, Max A., de Jong, Hugo W.A.M.


Medical Physics 46 (8), p. 3496-3507


Purpose: Quantitative accuracy of the single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) reconstruction of the pretreatment procedure of liver radioembolization is crucial for dosimetry; visual quality is important for detecting doses deposited outside the planned treatment volume. Quantitative accuracy is limited by respiratory motion. Conventional gating eliminates motion by count rejection but increases noise, which degrades the visual reconstruction quality. Motion compensation using all counts can be performed if the motion signal and motion vector field over time are known. The measurement of the motion signal of a patient currently requires a device (such as a respiratory belt) attached to the patient, which complicates the acquisition. The motion vector field is generally extracted from a previously acquired four-dimensional scan and can differ from the motion in the scan performed during the intervention. The simultaneous acquisition of fluoroscopic and nuclear projections can be used to obtain both the motion vector field and the projections of the corresponding (moving) activity distribution. This eliminates the need for devices attached to the patient and provides an accurate motion vector field for SPECT reconstruction. Our approach to motion compensation would primarily be beneficial for interventional SPECT because the time-critical setting requires fast scans and no inconvenience of an external apparatus. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the performance of the motion compensation approach for interventional liver SPECT by means of simulations. Methods: Nuclear and fluoroscopic projections of a realistic digital human phantom with respiratory motion were generated using fast Monte Carlo simulators. Fluoroscopic projections were sampled at 1–5 Hz. Nuclear data were acquired continuously in list mode. The motion signal was extracted from the fluoroscopic projections by calculating the center-of-mass, which was then used to assign each photon to a corresponding motion bin. The fluoroscopic projections were reconstructed per bin and coregistered, resulting in a motion vector field that was used in the SPECT reconstruction. The influence of breathing patterns, fluoroscopic imaging dose, sampling rate, number of bins, and scanning time was studied. In addition, the motion compensation method was compared with conventional gating to evaluate the detectability of spheres with varying uptake ratios. Results: The liver motion signal was accurately extracted from the fluoroscopic projections, provided the motion was stable in amplitude and the sampling rate was greater than 2 Hz. The minimum total fluoroscopic dose for the proposed method to function in a 5-min scan was 10 µGy. Although conventional gating improved the quantitative reconstruction accuracy, substantial background noise was observed in the short scans because of the limited counts available. The proposed method similarly improved the quantitative accuracy, but generated reconstructions with higher visual quality. The proposed method provided better visualization of low-contrast features than when using gating. Conclusion: The proposed motion compensation method has the potential to improve SPECT reconstruction quality. The method eliminates the need for external devices to measure the motion signal and generates an accurate motion vector field for reconstruction. A minimal increase in the fluoroscopic dose is required to substantially improve the results, paving the way for clinical use.