Degradation of myocardial perfusion SPECT images caused by contaminants in thallous chloride
Purpose Thallous (201Tl) chloride is a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) tracer mainly used for assessing perfusion and viability of myocardial tissue. 201Tl emits X-rays around 72 keV and gammas at 167 keV, and has a half-life of 73 h. Regulations allow an intrinsic contamination up to 35%, which is mainly caused by 200Tl (368 keV; 26 h) and by 202Tl (439 keV; 12.2 days). Contra-intuitive to the low-level percentages in which these contaminants are present, their impact may be significant because of much higher gamma camera sensitivity for these high-energy photon emissions. Therefore, we investigate the effects of the contaminants in terms of detected fractions of photons in projections and contrast degradation in reconstructed images. Methods Acquisitions of a digital thorax phantom filled with thallous (201Tl) chloride were simulated with a validated Monte Carlo tool, thereby, modelling 1% of contamination by 200Tl and 202Tl each. In addition, measurements of a thorax phantom on a dual-headed gamma camera were performed. The product used was contaminated by 0.17% of 200Tl and 0.24% of 202Tl at activity reference time (ART). This ART is specified by the manufacturer, thereby, accounting for the difference in half-lives of 201Tl and its contaminants. These measurements were repeated at different dates associated with various contamination levels. Results Simulations showed that, with 1% of 200Tl and 202Tl, the total contamination in the 72 keV window can rise up to one out of three detected photons. For the 167keV window, the contamination is even more pronounced: more than four out of five detections in this photopeak window originate from contaminants. Measurements indicate that cold lesion contrast in myocardial perfusion SPECT imaging is at maximum close to ART. In addition to a higher noise level, relative contrast decreases 15% 2 days early to ART, which is explained by an increase in 200Tl contamination. After ART, contrast decreased by 16% when the 202Tl contamination increased to the maximal allowed limit. Conclusions Contra-intuitive to the low-level percentages in which they are typically present, penetration and downscatter of high-energy photons from 200Tl and 202Tl significantly contribute to thallous (201Tl) chloride images, thereby, reducing contrast and adding noise. These findings may prompt for improved production methods, for updated policies with regard to timing of usage, and they also render the usefulness of adding the high photopeak window (167 keV) questionable. A window-based correction method for this contamination is advisable.
Source (journal)
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. - Heidelberg
Heidelberg : 2008
35:5(2008), p. 922-932
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
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Creation 15.11.2011
Last edited 23.06.2017