Fifty-eighth annual meeting of the american association of physicists in medicine
SU-F-I-59: Quality Assurance Phantom for PET/CT Alignment and Attenuation Correction
This study utilizes a commercial PET/CT phantom to investigate two specific properties of a PET/CT system: the alignment accuracy of PET images with those from CT used for attenuation correction and the accuracy of this correction in PET images.
A commercial PET/CT phantom consisting of three aluminum rods, two long central cylinders containing uniform activity, and attenuating materials such as air, water, bone and iodine contrast was scanned using a standard PET/CT protocol. Images reconstructed with 2 mm slice thickness and a 512 by 512 matrix were obtained. The center of each aluminum rod in the PET and CT images was compared to evaluate alignment accuracy. ROIs were drawn on transaxial images of the central rods at each section of attenuating material to determine the corrected activity (in BQML). BQML values were graphed as a function of slice number to provide a visual representation of the attenuation-correction throughout the whole phantom.
Alignment accuracy is high between the PET and CT images. The maximum deviation between the two in the axial plane is less than 1.5 mm, which is less than the width of a single pixel. BQML values measured along different sections of the large central rods are similar among the different attenuating materials except iodine contrast. Deviation of BQML values in the air and bone sections from the water section is less than 1%.
Accurate alignment of PET and CT images is critical to ensure proper calculation and application of CT-based attenuation correction. This study presents a simple and quick method to evaluate the two with a single acquisition. As the phantom also includes spheres of increasing diameter, this could serve as a straightforward means to annually evaluate the status of a modern PET/CT system.