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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2002 Aug;22(8):1019-34.

Positron emission tomography partial volume correction: estimation and algorithms.

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  • 1McConnell Brain Imaging Center, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

Partial volume effects in positron emission tomography (PET) lead to quantitative under- and over-estimations of the regional concentrations of radioactivity in reconstructed images and corresponding errors in derived functional or parametric images. The limited resolution of PET leads to "tissue-fraction" effects, reflecting underlying tissue heterogeneity, and "spillover" effects between regions. Addressing the former problem in general requires supplementary data, for example, coregistered high-resolution magnetic resonance images, whereas the latter effect can be corrected for with PET data alone if the point-spread function of the tomograph has been characterized. Analysis of otherwise homogeneous region-of-interest data ideally requires a combination of tissue classification and correction for the point-spread function. The formulation of appropriate algorithms for partial volume correction (PVC) is dependent on both the distribution of the signal and the distribution of the underlying noise. A mathematical framework has therefore been developed to accommodate both of these factors and to facilitate the development of new PVC algorithms based on the description of the problem. Several methodologies and algorithms have been proposed and implemented in the literature in order to address these problems. These methods do not, however, explicitly consider the noise model while differing in their underlying assumptions. The general theory for estimation of regional concentrations, associated error estimation, and inhomogeneity tests are presented in a weighted least squares framework. The analysis has been validated using both simulated and real PET data sets. The relations between the current algorithms and those published previously are formulated and compared. The incorporation of tensors into the formulation of the problem has led to the construction of computationally rapid algorithms taking into account both tissue-fraction and spillover effects. The suitability of their application to dynamic and static images is discussed.

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