Head motion is difficult to avoid in long PET studies, degrading the image quality and offsetting the benefit of using a high-resolution scanner. As a potential solution in an integrated MR-PET scanner, the simultaneously acquired MR data can be used for motion tracking. In this work, a novel data processing and rigid-body motion correction (MC) algorithm for the MR-compatible BrainPET prototype scanner is described and proof-of-principle phantom and human studies are presented.
To account for motion, the PET prompts and randoms coincidences as well as the sensitivity data are processed in the line or response (LOR) space according to the MR-derived motion estimates. After sinogram space rebinning, the corrected data are summed and the motion corrected PET volume is reconstructed from these sinograms and the attenuation and scatter sinograms in the reference position. The accuracy of the MC algorithm was first tested using a Hoffman phantom. Next, human volunteer studies were performed and motion estimates were obtained using two high temporal resolution MR-based motion tracking techniques.
After accounting for the physical mismatch between the two scanners, perfectly co-registered MR and PET volumes are reproducibly obtained. The MR output gates inserted in to the PET list-mode allow the temporal correlation of the two data sets within 0.2 s. The Hoffman phantom volume reconstructed processing the PET data in the LOR space was similar to the one obtained processing the data using the standard methods and applying the MC in the image space, demonstrating the quantitative accuracy of the novel MC algorithm. In human volunteer studies, motion estimates were obtained from echo planar imaging and cloverleaf navigator sequences every 3 seconds and 20 ms, respectively. Substantially improved PET images with excellent delineation of specific brain structures were obtained after applying the MC using these MR-based estimates.
A novel MR-based MC algorithm was developed for the integrated MR-PET scanner. High temporal resolution MR-derived motion estimates (obtained while simultaneously acquiring anatomical or functional MR data) can be used for PET MC. An MR-based MC has the potential to improve PET as a quantitative method, increasing its reliability and reproducibility which could benefit a large number of neurological applications.
Keywords: PET, MRI, multimodality imaging, motion tracking, motion correction