Lucretiu M. Popescu
Other affiliations: Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Bio: Lucretiu M. Popescu is an academic researcher from University of Pennsylvania. The author has contributed to research in topics: Iterative reconstruction & Image quality. The author has an hindex of 13, co-authored 27 publications receiving 834 citations. Previous affiliations of Lucretiu M. Popescu include Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
TL;DR: The results show that scan times can be reduced in a time-of-flight (TOF) fully three-dimensional whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to achieve images similar to those from a non-TOF scanner, or improved image quality achieved for same scan times.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to determine the benefit that can be achieved in image quality for a time-of-flight (TOF) fully three-dimensional (3-D) whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. We simulate a 3-D whole-body time-of-flight PET scanner with a complete modeling of spatial and energy resolutions. The scanner is based on LaBr/sub 3/ Anger-logic detectors with which 300ps timing resolution has been achieved. Multiple simulations were performed for 70-cm long uniform cylinders with 27-cm and 35-cm diameters, containing hot spheres (22, 17, 13, and 10-mm diameter) in a central slice and 10-mm diameter hot spheres in a slice at 1/4 axial FOV. Image reconstruction was performed with a list-mode iterative TOF algorithm and data were analyzed after attenuation and scatter corrections for timing resolutions of 300, 600, 1000 ps and non-TOF for varying count levels. The results show that contrast recovery improves slightly with TOF (NEMA NU2-2001 analysis), and improved timing resolution leads to a faster convergence to the maximum contrast value. Detectability for 10-mm diameter hot spheres estimated using a nonprewhitening matched filter (NPW SNR) also improves nonlinearly with TOF. The gain in image quality using contrast and noise measures is proportional to the object diameter and inversely proportional to the timing resolution of the scanner. The gains in NPW SNR are smaller, but they also increase with increasing object diameter and improved timing resolution. The results show that scan times can be reduced in a TOF scanner to achieve images similar to those from a non-TOF scanner, or improved image quality achieved for same scan times.
TL;DR: The methods offer a set of common testing procedures that can be utilized towards the optimal clinical utilization of CT imaging devices, benchmarking across varying systems and times, and a basis to develop future performance-based criteria for CT imaging.
Abstract: Background The rapid development and complexity of new x-ray computed tomography (CT) technologies and the need for evidence-based optimization of image quality with respect to radiation and contrast media dose call for an updated approach towards CT performance evaluation. Aims This report offers updated testing guidelines for testing CT systems with an enhanced focus on the operational performance including iterative reconstructions and automatic exposure control (AEC) techniques. Materials and methods The report was developed based on a comprehensive review of best methods and practices in the scientific literature. The detailed methods include the assessment of 1) CT noise (magnitude, texture, nonuniformity, inhomogeneity), 2) resolution (task transfer function under varying conditions and its scalar reflections), 3) task-based performance (detectability, estimability), and 4) AEC performance (spatial, noise, and mA concordance of attenuation and exposure modulation). The methods include varying reconstruction and tube current modulation conditions, standardized testing protocols, and standardized quantities and metrology to facilitate tracking, benchmarking, and quantitative comparisons. Results The methods, implemented in cited publications, are robust to provide a representative reflection of CT system performance as used operationally in a clinical facility. The methods include recommendations for phantoms and phantom image analysis. Discussion In line with the current professional trajectory of the field toward quantitation and operational engagement, the stated methods offer quantitation that is more predictive of clinical performance than specification-based approaches. They can pave the way to approach performance testing of new CT systems not only in terms of acceptance testing (i.e., verifying a device meets predefined specifications), but also system commissioning (i.e., determining how the system can be used most effectively in clinical practice). Conclusion We offer a set of common testing procedures that can be utilized towards the optimal clinical utilization of CT imaging devices, benchmarking across varying systems and times, and a basis to develop future performance-based criteria for CT imaging.
TL;DR: This review paper seeks to consolidate information relevant to objectively assessing the quality of CT IR images, and thereby measuring the level of dose reduction that a given IR algorithm can achieve, to consolidate recent literature relevant to the development and implementation of task-based methods for the assessment of CTIR image quality.
Abstract: Purpose: Iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithms have the potential to reduce radiation dose in CT diagnostic imaging. As these algorithms become available on the market, a standardizable method of quantifying the dose reduction that a particular IR method can achieve would be valuable. Such a method would assist manufacturers in making promotional claims about dose reduction, buyers in comparing different devices, physicists in independently validating the claims, and the United States Food and Drug Administration in regulating the labeling of CT devices. However, the nonlinear nature of commercially available IR algorithms poses challenges to objectively assessing image quality, a necessary step in establishing the amount of dose reduction that a given IR algorithm can achieve without compromising that image quality. This review paper seeks to consolidate information relevant to objectively assessing the quality of CT IR images, and thereby measuring the level of dose reduction that a given IR algorithm can achieve. Methods: The authors discuss task-based methods for assessing the quality of CT IR images and evaluating dose reduction. Results: The authors explain and review recent literature on signal detection and localization tasks in CT IR image quality assessment, the design of an appropriate phantom for these tasks, possible choices of observers (including human and model observers), and methods of evaluating observer performance. Conclusions: Standardizing the measurement of dose reduction is a problem of broad interest to the CT community and to public health. A necessary step in the process is the objective assessment of CT image quality, for which various task-based methods may be suitable. This paper attempts to consolidate recent literature that is relevant to the development and implementation of task-based methods for the assessment of CT IR image quality.
••16 Oct 2004
TL;DR: This paper shows how through a change of the format in which the data is stored one can keep all the initial information about the individual events while providing random access to subsets of events belonging to given geometrical regions, thus making possible the use of maximum likelihood ordered subsets (OSEM) type algorithms with data provided as a collection of individual events (list-mode), and facilitating the adaptation of other types of algorithms.
Abstract: In positron emission tomography (PET), the format in which the data is stored has a major influence on the image reconstruction procedure The use of the list-mode format preserves all of the measured attributes of the detected photon pairs but the events are stored in the order that they were measured, which allows only sequential access to the data This fact limits the number of applicable algorithms and often computing speed or memory capacity constraints require the use of algorithms that do not make full use of the original precise information in the data In this paper we show how through a change of the format in which the data is stored one can keep all the initial information about the individual events while providing random access to subsets of events belonging to given geometrical regions, thus making possible the use of maximum likelihood ordered subsets (OSEM) type algorithms with data provided as a collection of individual events (list-mode), and facilitating the adaptation of other types of algorithms The structured data format also allows for more compact (compressed) storage of the information compared to the simple list-mode format
••01 Oct 2006
TL;DR: In this paper, a relaxed list mode ordered subset expectation maximization (LMOSEM) algorithm is used in the reconstruction, with chronologically ordered subsets, and the sensitivity and emission object in LMOSEM are computed in the spherically symmetric basis function (blob) space.
Abstract: Philips has recently released the time-of-flight (TOF) PET/CT GEMINI-TF scanner. It uses 4 times 4 times 22 mm3 LYSO crystals, which has 600 ps timing resolution, 12% energy resolution and 4.8 mm spatial resolution. This paper describes the system design and general approach of TOF reconstruction in Philips' GEMINI-TF scanner. A relaxed list mode ordered subset expectation maximization (LMOSEM) algorithm is used in the reconstruction, with chronologically ordered subsets. The sensitivity and emission object in LMOSEM are computed in the spherically symmetric basis function (blob) space. The multiplicative correction factors of detector normalization, isotope decay, system dead-time and crystal timing are pre-corrected for each list mode event. Attenuation, scatter and randoms are corrected in the reconstruction system matrix. A TOF-dependent single scatter simulation (SSS) is implemented for TOF scatter estimation. To accelerate reconstruction, the sensitivity calculation and list mode reconstruction are distributed to multiple processors, using a dynamic load balancing scheme. For this paper, a uniform cylinder phantom with cold and hot cylinder inserts, a NEMA body IEC phantom and a patient study are reconstructed with both TOF and non-TOF reconstructions. We have demonstrated that TOF reconstruction converges faster than non-TOF, and controls noise well than non-TOF. It has better contrast-noise trade-offs than non-TOF for cold regions and small hot lesions.
TL;DR: The Gemini TF whole-body scanner represents the first commercially available fully 3-dimensional PET scanner that achieves time-of-flight capability as well as conventional imaging capabilities.
Abstract: Results from a new PET/CT scanner using lutetium-yttrium oxyorthosilicate (LYSO) crystals for the PET component are presented. This scanner, which operates in a fully 3-dimensional mode, has a diameter of 90 cm and an axial field of view of 18 cm. It uses 4 × 4 × 22 mm3 LYSO crystals arranged in a pixelated Anger-logic detector design. This scanner was designed to perform as a high-performance conventional PET scanner as well as provide good timing resolution to operate as a time-of-flight (TOF) PET scanner. Methods: Performance measurements on the scanner were made using the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) NU2-2001 procedures to benchmark its conventional imaging capabilities. The scatter fraction and noise equivalent count (NEC) measurements with the NEMA cylinder (20-cm diameter) were repeated for 2 larger cylinders (27-cm and 35-cm diameter), which better represent average and heavy patients. New measurements were designed to characterize its intrinsic timing resolution capability, which defines its TOF performance. Additional measurements to study the impact of pulse pileup at high counting rates on timing, as well as energy and spatial, resolution were also performed. Finally, to characterize the effect of TOF reconstruction on lesion contrast and noise, the standard NEMA/International Electrotechnical Commission torso phantom as well as a large 35-cm-diameter phantom with both hot and cold spheres were imaged for varying scan times. Results: The transverse and axial resolution near the center is 4.8 mm. The absolute sensitivity of this scanner measured with a 70-cm-long line source is 6.6 cps/kBq, whereas scatter fraction is 27% measured with a 70-cm-long line source in a 20-cm-diameter cylinder. For the same line source cylinder, the peak NEC rate is measured to be 125 kcps at an activity concentration of 17.4 kBq/mL (0.47 μCi/mL). The 2 larger cylinders showed a decrease in the peak NEC due to increased attenuation, scatter, and random coincidences, and the peak occurs at lower activity concentrations. The system coincidence timing resolution was measured to be 585 ps. The timing resolution changes as a function of the singles rate due to pulse pileup and could impact TOF image reconstruction. Image-quality measurements with the torso phantom show that very high quality images can be obtained with short scan times (1–2 min per bed position). However, the benefit of TOF is more apparent with the large 35-cm-diameter phantom, where small spheres are detectable only with TOF information for short scan times. Conclusion: The Gemini TF whole-body scanner represents the first commercially available fully 3-dimensional PET scanner that achieves TOF capability as well as conventional imaging capabilities. The timing resolution is also stable over a long duration, indicating the practicality of this device. Excellent image quality is achieved for whole-body studies in 10–30 min, depending on patient size. The most significant improvement with TOF is seen for the heaviest patients.
TL;DR: ToF leads to a better contrast-versus-noise trade-off than non-TOF but one that is difficult to quantify in terms of a simple sensitivity gain improvement.
Abstract: Significant improvements have made it possible to add the technology of time-of-flight (TOF) to improve PET, particularly for oncology applications. The goals of this work were to investigate the benefits of TOF in experimental phantoms and to determine how these benefits translate into improved performance for patient imaging. Methods: In this study we used a fully 3-dimensional scanner with the scintillator lutetium-yttrium oxyorthosilicate and a system timing resolution of ;600 ps. The data are acquired in list-mode and reconstructed with a maximum-likelihood expectation maximization algorithm; the system model includes the TOF kernel and corrections for attenuation, detector normalization, randoms, and scatter. The scatter correction is an extension of the model-based singlescatter simulation to include the time domain. Phantom measurements to study the benefit of TOF include 27-cm- and 35-cm-diameter distributions with spheres ranging in size from 10to37mm.ToassessthebenefitofTOFPETforclinicalimaging, patient studies are quantitatively analyzed. Results: The lesion phantom studies demonstrate the improved contrast of the smallest spheres with TOF compared with non-TOF and also confirm the faster convergence of contrast with TOF. These gains are evident from visual inspection of the images as well as a quantitative evaluation of contrast recovery of the spheres and noise in the background. The gains with TOF are higher for larger objects. These results correlate with patient studies in which lesions are seen more clearly and with higher uptake at comparable noise for TOF than with non-TOF. Conclusion: TOF leads to a better contrast-versus-noise trade-off than non-TOF but one that is difficult to quantify in terms of a simple sensitivity gain improvement: A single gain factor for TOF improvement does not include the increased rate of convergence with TOF nor does it consider that TOF may converge to a different contrast than non-TOF. The experimental phantom results agree with those of prior simulations and help explain the improved image quality with TOF for patient oncology studies.
TL;DR: There has been a steady, often very diverse development of prototype detectors, and the pace has accelerated with the increased use of PET in clinical studies and the rapid proliferation of pre-clinical PET scanners for academic and commercial research applications.
Abstract: Positron emission tomography (PET) is a tool for metabolic imaging that has been utilized since the earliest days of nuclear medicine. A key component of such imaging systems is the detector modules—an area of research and development with a long, rich history. Development of detectors for PET has often seen the migration of technologies, originally developed for high energy physics experiments, into prototype PET detectors. Of the many areas explored, some detector designs go on to be incorporated into prototype scanner systems and a few of these may go on to be seen in commercial scanners. There has been a steady, often very diverse development of prototype detectors, and the pace has accelerated with the increased use of PET in clinical studies (currently driven by PET/CT scanners) and the rapid proliferation of pre-clinical PET scanners for academic and commercial research applications. Most of these efforts are focused on scintillator-based detectors, although various alternatives continue to be considered. For example, wire chambers have been investigated many times over the years and more recently various solid-state devices have appeared in PET detector designs for very high spatial resolution applications. But even with scintillators, there have been a wide variety of designs and solutions investigated as developers search for solutions that offer very high spatial resolution, fast timing, high sensitivity and are yet cost effective. In this review, we will explore some of the recent developments in the quest for better PET detector technology.
TL;DR: A fully automated approach that uses a dedicated T1-weighted MR sequence in combination with a customized image processing technique to derive attenuation maps for whole-body PET and offers similar correction accuracy as offered by segmented CT.
Abstract: The combination of positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance (MR) tomography in a single device is anticipated to be the next step following PET/CT for future molecular imaging application. Compared to CT, the main advantages of MR are versatile soft tissue contrast and its capability to acquire functional information without ionizing radiation. However, MR is not capable of measuring a physical quantity that would allow a direct derivation of the attenuation values for high-energy photons. To overcome this problem, we propose a fully automated approach that uses a dedicated T1-weighted MR sequence in combination with a customized image processing technique to derive attenuation maps for whole-body PET. The algorithm automatically identifies the outer contour of the body and the lungs using region-growing techniques in combination with an intensity analysis for automatic threshold estimation. No user interaction is required to generate the attenuation map. The accuracy of the proposed MR-based attenuation correction (AC) approach was evaluated in a clinical study using whole-body PET/CT and MR images of the same patients (n = 15). The segmentation of the body and lung contour (L-R directions) was evaluated via a four-point scale in comparison to the original MR image (mean values >3.8). PET images were reconstructed using elastically registered MR-based and CT-based (segmented and non-segmented) attenuation maps. The MR-based AC showed similar behaviour as CT-based AC and similar accuracy as offered by segmented CT-based AC. Standardized uptake value (SUV) comparisons with reference to CT-based AC using predefined attenuation coefficients showed the largest difference for bone lesions (mean value ± standard variation of SUVmax: −3.0% ± 3.9% for MR; −6.5% ± 4.1% for segmented CT). A blind comparison of PET images corrected with segmented MR-based, CT-based and segmented CT-based AC afforded identical lesion detectability, but slight differences in image quality were found. Our MR‐based attenuation correction method offers similar correction accuracy as offered by segmented CT. According to the specialists involved in the blind study, these differences do not affect the diagnostic value of the PET images.
TL;DR: A set of performance advantages is presented which include better image quality, shorter scan times, lower dose, higher spatial resolution, lower sensitivity to inconsistent data, and the opportunity for new architectures with missing angles.
Abstract: TOF PET is characterized by a better trade-off between contrast and noise in the image. This property is enhanced in more challenging operating conditions, allowing for example shorter examinations or low counts, successful scanning of larger patients, low uptake, visualization of smaller lesions, and incomplete data sampling. In this paper, the correlation between the time resolution of a TOF PET scanner and the improvement in signal-to-noise in the image is introduced and discussed. A set of performance advantages is presented which include better image quality, shorter scan times, lower dose, higher spatial resolution, lower sensitivity to inconsistent data, and the opportunity for new architectures with missing angles. The recent scientific literature that reports the first experimental evidence of such advantages in oncology clinical data is reviewed. Finally, the directions for possible improvement of the time resolution of the present generation of TOF PET scanners are discussed.