Design of a digital phantom population for myocardial perfusion SPECT imaging research
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Digital phantoms and Monte Carlo (MC) simulations have become important tools for optimizing and evaluating instrumentation, acquisition and processing methods for myocardial perfusion SPECT (MPS). In this work, we designed a new adult digital phantom population and generated corresponding Tc-99m and Tl-201 projections for use in MPS research. The population is based on the three-dimensional XCAT phantom with organ parameters sampled from the Emory PET Torso Model Database. Phantoms included three variations each in body size, heart size, and subcutaneous adipose tissue level, for a total of 27 phantoms of each gender. The SimSET MC code and angular response functions were used to model interactions in the body and the collimator-detector system, respectively. We divided each phantom into seven organs, each simulated separately, allowing use of post-simulation summing to efficiently model uptake variations. Also, we adapted and used a criterion based on the relative Poisson effective count level to determine the required number of simulated photons for each simulated organ. This technique provided a quantitative estimate of the true noise in the simulated projection data, including residual MC simulation noise. Projections were generated in 1 keV wide energy windows from 48-184 keV assuming perfect energy resolution to permit study of the effects of window width, energy resolution, and crosstalk in the context of dual isotope MPS. We have developed a comprehensive method for efficiently simulating realistic projections for a realistic population of phantoms in the context of MPS imaging. The new phantom population and realistic database of simulated projections will be useful in performing mathematical and human observer studies to evaluate various acquisition and processing methods such as optimizing the energy window width, investigating the effect of energy resolution on image quality and evaluating compensation methods for degrading factors such as crosstalk in the context of single and dual isotope MPS.
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