Background: Small-animal single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) systems with multi-pinhole collimation and large stationary detectors have advantages compared to systems with moving small detectors. These systems benefit from less labour-intensive maintenance and quality control as fewer prone parts are moving, higher accuracy for focused scans and maintaining high resolution with increased sensitivity due to focused pinholes on the field of view. This study aims to investigate the performance of a novel ultra-high-resolution scanner with two-detector configuration (U-SPECT5-E) and to compare its image quality to a conventional micro-SPECT system with three stationary detectors (U-SPECT+). Methods: The new U-SPECT5-E with two stationary detectors was used for acquiring data with 99mTc-filled point source, hot-rod and uniformity phantoms to analyse sensitivity, spatial resolution, uniformity and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). Three dedicated multi-pinhole mouse collimators with 75 pinholes each and 0.25-, 0.60- and 1.00-mm pinholes for extra ultra-high resolution (XUHR-M), general-purpose (GP-M) and ultra-high sensitivity (UHS-M) imaging were examined. For CNR analysis, four different activity ranges representing low- and high-count settings were investigated for all three collimators. The experiments for the performance assessment were repeated with the same GP-M collimator in the three-detector U-SPECT+ for comparison. Results: Peak sensitivity was 237 cps/MBq (XUHR-M), 847 cps/MBq (GP-M), 2054 cps/MBq (UHS-M) for U-SPECT5-E and 1710 cps/MBq (GP-M) for U-SPECT+. In the visually analysed sections of the reconstructed mini Derenzo phantoms, rods as small as 0.35 mm (XUHR-M), 0.50 mm (GP-M) for the two-detector as well as the three-detector SPECT and 0.75 mm (UHS-M) were resolved. Uniformity for maximum resolution recorded 40.7% (XUHR-M), 29.1% (GP-M, U-SPECT5-E), 16.3% (GP-M, U-SPECT+) and 23.0% (UHS-M), respectively. UHS-M reached highest CNR values for low-count images; for rods smaller than 0.45 mm, acceptable CNR was only achieved by XUHR-M. GP-M was superior for imaging rods sized from 0.60 to 1.50 mm for intermediate activity concentrations. U-SPECT5-E and U-SPECT+ both provided comparable CNR. Conclusions: While uniformity and sensitivity are negatively affected by the absence of a third detector, the investigated U-SPECT5-E system with two stationary detectors delivers excellent spatial resolution and CNR comparable to the performance of an established three-detector-setup.
- Post-reconstruction filtering
- Small-animal imaging, SPECT
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging