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4D reconstruction of dynamic positron emission tomography (dPET) data can improve the signal-to-noise ratio in reconstructed image sequences by fitting smooth temporal functions to the voxel time-activity-curves (TACs) during the reconstruction, though the optimal choice of function remains an open question. We propose a spline-residue model, which describes TACs as weighted sums of convolutions of the arterial input function with cubic B-spline basis functions. Convolution with the input function constrains the spline-residue model at early time-points, potentially enhancing noise suppression in early time-frames, while still allowing a wide range of TAC descriptions over the entire imaged time-course, thus limiting bias. Spline-residue based 4D-reconstruction is compared to that of a conventional (non-4D) maximum a posteriori (MAP) algorithm, and to 4D-reconstructions based on adaptive-knot cubic B-splines, the spectral model and an irreversible two-tissue compartment ('2C3K') model. 4D reconstructions were carried out using a nested-MAP algorithm including spatial and temporal roughness penalties. The algorithms were tested using Monte-Carlo simulated scanner data, generated for a digital thoracic phantom with uptake kinetics based on a dynamic [18F]-Fluromisonidazole scan of a non-small cell lung cancer patient. For every algorithm, parametric maps were calculated by fitting each voxel TAC within a sub-region of the reconstructed images with the 2C3K model. Compared to conventional MAP reconstruction, spline-residue-based 4D reconstruction achieved  >50% improvements for five of the eight combinations of the four kinetics parameters for which parametric maps were created with the bias and noise measures used to analyse them, and produced better results for 5/8 combinations than any of the other reconstruction algorithms studied, while spectral model-based 4D reconstruction produced the best results for 2/8. 2C3K model-based 4D reconstruction generated the most biased parametric maps. Inclusion of a temporal roughness penalty function improved the performance of 4D reconstruction based on the cubic B-spline, spectral and spline-residue models.

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Journal article


Phys Med Biol

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