PET/CT cranks it up a notch with new advances

November 1, 2007

CT is the hare and PET the tortoise in the imaging world. In a hybrid scanner, however, neither can win without the other. Little wonder engineers have put so much effort into speeding up the PET portion.

CT is the hare and PET the tortoise in the imaging world. In a hybrid scanner, however, neither can win without the other. Little wonder engineers have put so much effort into speeding up the PET portion.

Over the past few years, much of the technological emphasis has focused on boosting detector efficiency with crystals that register data more quickly, thereby reducing the time needed for an exam or enhancing image quality. This approach has given way in the last year to other developments:

  • Detectors packed with more crystals boost the number of photons detected over a set period, or electronics and software that home in on each positron annihilation, increasing the resolution of the PET camera.

  • Software speeds image registration and reconstruction with not just faster computing but smarter ways to process the data. Included are ways to handle what would otherwise result in a misregistration of the data sets.

  • Algorithms correct artifacts caused by respiration or physical movement of the patient, which is most likely to occur during the PET scan.

  • Novel ways compare and contrast images. PET/CT is as much about monitoring patient response to therapy as it is making the initial assessment. Smart ways to fetch and present data make the interpreter more effective.