In this work we demonstrate the proof of principle of CT-based attenuation correction of 3D positron emission tomography (PET) data by using scans of bone and soft tissue equivalent phantoms and scans of humans. This method of attenuation correction is intended for use in a single scanner that combines volume-imaging (3D) PET with x-ray computed tomography (CT) for the purpose of providing accurately registered anatomical localization of structures seen in the PET image. The goal of this work is to determine if we can perform attenuation correction of the PET emission data using accurately aligned CT attenuation information. We discuss possible methods of calculating the PET attenuation map at 511 keV based on CT transmission information acquired from 40 keV through 140 keV. Data were acquired on separate CT and PET scanners and were aligned using standard image registration procedures. Results are presented on three of the attenuation calculation methods: segmentation, scaling, and our proposed hybrid segmentation/scaling method. The results are compared with those using the standard 3D PET attenuation correction method as a gold standard. We demonstrate the efficacy of our proposed hybrid method for converting the CT attenuation map from an effective CT photon energy of 70 keV to the PET photon energy of 511 keV. We conclude that using CT information is a feasible way to obtain attenuation correction factors for 3D PET.
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