Evaluation of the spline reconstruction technique for preclinical PET imaging

Alexandros Vrachliotis, George A. Kastis, Nicholas E. Protonotarios, Athanasios S. Fokas, Stephan G. Nekolla, Constantinos D. Anagnostopoulos, Lena Costaridou, Anastasios Gaitanis

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Background and Objective: The Spline Reconstruction Technique (SRT) is a fast algorithm based on a novel numerical implementation of an analytic representation of the inverse Radon transform. The purpose of this study is to provide a comparison between SRT, Filtered Back-Projection (FBP), Ordered Subset Expectation Maximization 2D (2D-OSEM), and the Tera-Tomo 3D algorithm, using phantom data at various acquisition durations as well as small-animal data obtained from the Mediso nanoScan® PET/CT scanner. Methods: For this purpose, the “NEMA NU 4–2008 standards” protocol was employed at five different realizations and acquisition durations. In addition to the image quality metrics described by the NEMA protocol, Cold Region Contrast was also considered as a figure-of-merit. Furthermore, Cold Region Contrast was measured in the myocardial infarction region of six male Wistar rats. The volumetric defect quantification was assessed with dedicated computer software. Lastly, plots of Recovery Coefficient and Spill-Over Ratio as a function of the Percentage Standard Deviation were generated, after smoothing the phantom reconstructions with four different Gaussian filters. Statistical significance was determined by employing the Kruskal-Wallis test or One-way Analysis of Variance depending on the normality of the variable's distribution. Results: The present study revealed that, at the expense of slightly increased noise in the reconstructed images, SRT resulted in higher Recovery Coefficient values for small hot regions of interest, when compared with FBP and 2D-OSEM at all acquisition durations. Furthermore, SRT reconstructed images exhibit higher Recovery Coefficient values, for all hot regions of interest, when compared to the other 2D algorithms at short acquisition durations. In both phantom and animal studies, SRT achieved a significant improvement over 2D-OSEM for the Spill-Over Ratio and the Cold Region Contrast. These advantages were maintained even after comparing the algorithms at equal noise levels. The Tera-Tomo 3D algorithm (4 subsets, iterations≥ 13) performed significantly better compared to the other algorithms for all figures-of-merit. No statistically significant differences regarding the myocardial defect size were observed between the algorithms investigated. Conclusions: Overall, SRT appears that could be useful for the quantification of small hot regions of interest, cold regions of interest, as well as in low-count imaging applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106668
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • IQ phantom
  • Image reconstruction
  • Mediso nanoScan® PC (PET8/2) PET/CT
  • SRT
  • STIR
  • Small-animal imaging


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