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Impact of Contrast Agent for PET Images with CT-based Attenuation Correction
Korean Journal of Medical Physics 2005;16(4):192-201
Published online December 25, 2005
© 2005 Korean Society of Medical Physics.

Hye-Kyung Son*, Timothy G. Turkington, Yun-Young Kwon*, Haijo Jung*, Hee-Joung Kim*§

*Research Institute of Radiological Science, Yonsei University, Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, BK21 Project for Medical Science, §Department of Radiology, Yonsei University College of Medicine
Experiments and simulation were done to study the impact of contrast agent when CT scan was used to attenuation correction for PET images in PET/CT system. Whole body phantom was imaged with various concentration of iodine-based contrast agent using CT. Mathematical emission and transmission density map with liver were made to simulate for whole body FDG imaging. A variety of factors were estimated, including non-uniform enhancement of contrast agent, concentration and distribution size of contrast agent, noise level, image resolution, reconstruction algorithm, hypo-attenuation of contrast agent, and different time phases for contrast agent. Experimental studies showed that Hounsfield unit depends on the concentration of contrast agent and tube voltage. From the simulation data, contrast agents introduced artifacts and degraded image quality on the attenuation-corrected PET images. The severity of these effects depends on a variety of factors, including the concentration and distribution size of contrast agent, the noise levels, and the image resolution. These results indicated that the impact of contrast agents should be considered with a full understanding of their potential problems in clinical PET/CT images.
Keywords : PET/CT, Attenuation correction, Artifacts, Contrast agents

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