SPECT system enables cardiac scanning 10 to 100 times faster

Debin Zhang
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A new cardiac scanner makes SPECT imaging 10 to 100 times faster than conventional systems through the use of self-collimation, while still preserving image quality.

The solution bypasses the challenges associated with mechanical collimators and performs fast-framed dynamic scans that reduce imaging time, improve scan quality, increase patient throughput, and decrease radiation exposure.

The new technology utilizes active detectors in a multilayer architecture that facilitates the dual functionality of detection and collimation, according to researchers who developed the system. They discussed their research about it at the SNMMI 2022 Annual Meeting.

“SPECT is an important noninvasive imaging tool for the diagnosis and risk stratification of patients with coronary heart disease. However, conventional SPECT suffers from long scan time and poor image quality as a result of relying on a mechanical collimator,” said Debin Zhang, a doctoral student at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, in a statement.

The system uses a multilayer, interspaced mosaic-patterned detector to carry out photon detection and collimation. A random pattern of apertures on the metal plate further improves signal-to-noise ratio for better image quality, and the metal plate also functions as part of the collimation.

In a study, the system identified the defect in a cardiac phantom in as little as two seconds and had an average sensitivity of 0.68% in the field of view.

The researchers say it could help lead to more advanced technologies down the road for assessing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. “The new detector design opens up a broad range of possibilities for development of new imaging systems with better image quality, higher speed and better diagnostic accuracy in molecular imaging,” said Zhang.

A new SPECT scanner using self-collimation speeds up cardiac imaging 10 to 100 times faster.

A new SPECT scanner using self-collimation speeds up cardiac imaging 10 to 100 times faster.