Low-dose single acquisition rest 99mTc/stress 201Tl myocardial perfusion SPECT protocol: phantom studies and clinical validation
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We developed and tested a single acquisition rest 99mTc-sestamibi/stress 201Tl dual isotope protocol (SDI) with the intention of improving the clinical workflow and patient comfort of myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
The technical feasibility of SDI was evaluated by a series of anthropomorphic phantom studies on a standard SPECT camera. The attenuation map was created by a moving transmission line source. Iterative reconstruction including attenuation correction, resolution recovery and Monte Carlo simulation of scatter was used for simultaneous reconstruction of dual tracer distribution. For clinical evaluation, patient studies were compared to stress 99mTc and rest 99mTc reference images acquired in a 2-day protocol. Clinical follow-up examinations like coronary angiography (CAG) and fractional flow reserve (FFR) were included in the assessment if available.
Phantom studies demonstrated the technical feasibility of SDI. Artificial lesions inserted in the phantom mimicking ischaemia could be clearly identified. In 51/53 patients, the image quality was adequate for clinical evaluation. For the remaining two obese patients with body mass index > 32 the injected 201Tl dose of 74 MBq was insufficient for clinical assessment. In answer to this the 201Tl dose was adapted for obese patients in the rest of the study. In 31 patients, SDI and 99mTc reference images resulted in equivalent clinical assessment. Significant differences were found in 20 patients. In 18 of these 20 patients additional examinations were available. In 15 patients the diagnosis based on the SDI images was confirmed by the results of CAG or FFR. In these patients the SDI images were more accurate than the 99mTc reference study. In three patients minor ischaemic lesions were detected by SDI but were not confirmed by CAG. In one of these cases this was probably caused by pronounced apical thinning. For two patients no relevant clinical follow-up information was available for evaluation.
The proposed SDI protocol has the potential to improve clinical workflow and patient comfort and suggests improved accuracy as demonstrated in the clinical feasibility study.