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6 Considerations for Implementing Quantitative SPECT Imaging into Your Nuclear Medicine Department

There are many new and exciting applications for quantitative single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) cameras due to their ability to quantify the amount of absorbed isotope. Today's most widely used application for quantitative SPECT imaging is capturing patient-specific absorbed doses for molecular radiotherapies. Conversion from SPECT counts to SUV also supports other applications, such as tracking therapy response in cases of MIBG (meta-iodobenzylguanidine), metastatic bone disease, and thyroid and parathyroid disease.

Healthcare facilities can adopt this new technology by converting a non-quantitative SPECT or SPECT/CT camera into a quantitative SPECT camera or purchasing one of the latest SPECT/CT cameras. However, due to their high cost, most healthcare facilities still need access to the latest SPECT/CT technology for SUV conversion. It is a complex process that requires a significant amount of expertise and specialized equipment but can be made easier with the right tools and support.

Critical Considerations

Here are the top six critical considerations when converting a non-quantitative SPECT camera into a quantitative SPECT camera at your facility.

Acquire CT Images for Attenuation Correction

The CT corrects for the variation in tissue density which can affect the accuracy of the SPECT image. Converting a non-quantitative SPECT image requires a CT image for attenuation correction, which ensures a quality diagnostic and clinically readable image. Most solutions require that the CT be acquired on a hybrid SPECT/CT camera, but some solutions allow for a separately acquired CT to be used for CTAC.

Scatter Window Corrections

Scatter windows are used to correct for scattered radiation, which can also affect the accuracy of the SPECT image. SPECT radioisotopes have a minimum of one primary projection that is always acquired. Upper and lower energy windows for each primary window can also be obtained, ensuring an optimal image for clinical reading. This is usually done through a simple protocol change on your camera.

SPECT Calibration Image

A raw SPECT or planar image of a vessel, or phantom, with a known amount of radioisotope, allows you to apply a camera and isotope-specific calibration factor, which supports the conversion from counts to Bq/ml. This will ensure that the camera can accurately measure the amount of radiation absorbed by the patient's body. 

Review Your Quality Control

Quality control practices should be in place to ensure that the camera, image data, and processing are accurate and reliable. This can include regular monitoring of the camera's performance and periodic testing to ensure that the camera provides accurate and reliable results.

Equip Your Staff

Properly training clinicians and staff to operate and maintain the camera is essential. This should include training on the camera hardware, interpreting the results, and troubleshooting any issues that may arise.

Consider the Cost

SPECT/CT cameras featuring quantitative capabilities can range from $600,000 to $1.2 million. It's important to consider the costs associated with the conversion, including the cost of the equipment and software, installation and calibration, and ongoing maintenance and support.

By following the guidelines above, healthcare facilities can ensure that adopting SPECT SUVs into their nuclear medicine department is successful, providing accurate and reliable results for better patient care.

Learn how you can implement SPECT SUV into your department.

Leanne Wadenpfuhl
Written by Leanne Wadenpfuhl

Leanne Wadenpfuhl is a writer on the Marketing Team at MIM Software. She works closely with marketers, product managers, and clinical scientists to understand the topics of interest to MIM Software customers and create content that educates and informs.