Investigation of the Use of X-ray CT Images For Attenuation Compensation in SPECT

K. J. LaCroix, B. M.W. Tsui, B. H. Hasegawa, J. K. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


This study investigates the general use of single-beam xray computed tomography (CT) images for generating attenuation maps for compensation of photon attenuation in SPECT images. A 3D mathematical thorax phantom is used to simulate both emission and transmission projection data for monoenergetic (radionuclide) and polyenergetic (X-ray) sources. Polyenergetic transmission projection data are simulated for a standard X-ray spectrum and fan-beam geometry. The projection data are reconstructed using filtered backprojection to form an X-ray CT image which is then scaled to produce an estimate of the attenuation map at the energy of the emission radionuclide. Emission projection data are simulated for a fan-beam geometry at the energies of201Tl and99mTc, two radionuclides commonly used in cardiac SPECT. Detector response and scatter are not included in the model. Noiseless, emission projection data are iteratively reconstructed using the ML-EM algorithm with nonuniform attenuation compensation and attenuation maps derived from both the simulated X-ray CT image and from a simulated monoenergetic transmission CT image. The attenuation maps generated from the X-ray CT images accurately estimate the attenuation coefficient for muscle and lung tissues, but not for bone tissues, which show error in the attenuation coefficient of 21-42% for spinal bone and 34-58% for rib bone. However, despite the inaccurate estimate of bone attenuation, the reconstructed SPECT images provide estimates of myocardial radioactivity concentration to within 9% and show few artifacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2793-2799
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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