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Clinical PET/MRI-System and Its Applications with MRI Based Attenuation Correction


Hofmann,  M
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Kolb, A., Hofmann, M., Sossi V, Wehrl H, Sauter A, Schmid A, Schlemmer H-P, Claussen, C., & Pichler, B. (2009). Clinical PET/MRI-System and Its Applications with MRI Based Attenuation Correction.

Clinical PET/MRI is an emerging new hybrid imaging modality. In addition to provide an unique possibility for multifunctional imaging with temporally and spatially matched data, it also provides anatomical information that can also be used for attenuation correction with no radiation exposure to the subjects. A plus of combined compared to sequential PET and MR imaging is the reduction of total scan time. Here we present our initial experience with a hybrid brain PET/MRI system. Due to the ethical approval patient scans could only be performed after a diagnostic PET/CT. We estimate that in approximately 50 of the cases PET/MRI was of superior diagnostic value compared to PET/CT and was able to provide additional information, such as DTI, spectroscopy and Time Of Flight (TOF) angiography. Here we present 3 patient cases in oncology, a retropharyngeal carcinoma in neurooncology, a relapsing meningioma and in neurology a pharyngeal carcinoma in addition to an infraction of the right hemisphere. For quantitative PET imaging attenuation correction is obligatory. In current PET/MRI setup we used our MRI based atlas method for calculating the mu-map for attenuation correction. MR-based attenuation correction accuracy was quantitatively compared to CT-based PET attenuation correction. Extensive studies to assess potential mutual interferences between PET and MR imaging modalities as well as NEMA measurements have been performed. The first patient studies as well as the phantom tests clearly demonstrated the overall good imaging performance of this first human PET/MRI system. Ongoing work concentrates on advanced normalization and reconstruction methods incorporating count-rate based algorithms.