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Image synthesis for the attenuation correction and analysis of PET/MR data

Burgos, NF; (2016) Image synthesis for the attenuation correction and analysis of PET/MR data. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

While magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides high-resolution anatomical information, positron emission tomography (PET) provides functional information. Combined PET/MR scanners are expected to offer a new range of clinical applications but efforts are still necessary to mitigate some limitations of this promising technology. One of the factors limiting the use of PET/MR scanners, especially in the case of neurology studies, is the imperfect attenuation correction, leading to a strong bias of the PET activity. Exploiting the simultaneous acquisition of both modalities, I explored a new family of methods to synthesise X-ray computed tomography (CT) images from MR images. The synthetic images are generated through a multi-atlas information propagation scheme, locally matching the MRI-derived patient's morphology to a database of MR/CT image pairs, using a local image similarity measure. The proposed algorithm provides a significant improvement in PET reconstruction accuracy when compared with the current correction, allowing an unbiased analysis of the PET images. A similar image synthesis scheme was then used to better identify abnormalities in cerebral glucose metabolism measured by [18]F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET. This framework consists of creating a subject-specific healthy PET model based on the propagation of morphologically-matched PET images, and comparing the subject's PET image to the model via a Z-score. By accounting for inter-subject morphological differences, the proposed method reduces the variance of the normal population used for comparison in the Z-score, thus increasing the sensitivity. To demonstrate that the applicability of the proposed CT synthesis method is not limited to PET/MR attenuation correction, I redesigned the synthesis process to derive tissue attenuation properties from MR images in the head & neck and pelvic regions to facilitate MR-based radiotherapy treatment planning.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Image synthesis for the attenuation correction and analysis of PET/MR data
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1517860
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