In conventional 4D positron emission tomography (4D-PET), images from different frames are reconstructed individually and aligned by registration methods. Two issues that arise with this approach are as follows: (1) the reconstruction algorithms do not make full use of projection statistics; and (2) the registration between noisy images can result in poor alignment. In this study, we investigated the use of simultaneous motion estimation and image reconstruction (SMEIR) methods for motion estimation/correction in 4D-PET. A modified ordered-subset expectation maximization algorithm coupled with total variation minimization (OSEM-TV) was used to obtain a primary motion-compensated PET (pmc-PET) from all projection data, using Demons derived deformation vector fields (DVFs) as initial motion vectors. A motion model update was performed to obtain an optimal set of DVFs in the pmc-PET and other phases, by matching the forward projection of the deformed pmc-PET with measured projections from other phases. The OSEM-TV image reconstruction was repeated using updated DVFs, and new DVFs were estimated based on updated images. A 4D-XCAT phantom with typical FDG biodistribution was generated to evaluate the performance of the SMEIR algorithm in lung and liver tumors with different contrasts and different diameters (10-40 mm). The image quality of the 4D-PET was greatly improved by the SMEIR algorithm. When all projections were used to reconstruct 3D-PET without motion compensation, motion blurring artifacts were present, leading up to 150% tumor size overestimation and significant quantitative errors, including 50% underestimation of tumor contrast and 59% underestimation of tumor uptake. Errors were reduced to less than 10% in most images by using the SMEIR algorithm, showing its potential in motion estimation/correction in 4D-PET.
- 4D PET
- PET motion correction
- PET quantification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging