Positron emission tomography (PET) has shown an increase in both sensitivity and specificity over computed tomography (CT) in lung cancer. However, motion artifacts in the fluorodioxydoglucose (FDG) PET images caused by respiration persists to be an important factor in degrading PET image quality and quantification. Motion artifacts lead to two major effects: First, it affects the accuracy of quantitation, producing a reduction of the measured standard uptake value (SUV). Second, the apparent lesion volume is overestimated. Both impact upon the usage of PET images for radiation treatment planning. The first affects the visibility, or contrast, of the lesion. The second results in an increase in the planning target volume, and consequently a greater radiation dose to the normal tissues. One way to compensate for this effect is by applying a multiple-frame capture technique. The PET data are then acquired in synchronization with the respiratory motion. Reduction in smearing due to gating was investigated in both phantoms and patient studies. Phantom studies showed a dependence of the reduction in smearing on the lesion size, the motion amplitude, and the number of bins used for data acquisition. These studies also showed an improvement in the target-to-background ratio, and a more accurate measurement of the SUV. When applied to one patient, respiratory gating showed a 28% reduction in the total lesion volume, and a 56.5% increase in the SUV. This study was conducted as a proof of principle that a gating technique can effectively reduce motion artifacts in PET image acquisition.
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