MRI-Assisted PET Motion Correction for Neurologic Studies in an Integrated MR-PET Scanner
Head motion is difficult to avoid in long PET studies, degrading the image quality and offsetting the benefit of using a high-resolution scanner. As a potential solution in an integrated MR-PET scanner, the simultaneously acquired MRI data can be used for motion tracking. In this work, a novel algorithm for data processing and rigid-body motion correction (MC) for the MRI-compatible BrainPET prototype scanner is described, and proof-of-principle phantom and human studies are presented. Methods: To account for motion, the PET prompt and random coincidences and sensitivity data for postnormalization were processed in the line-of-response (LOR) space according to the MRI-derived motion estimates. The processing time on the standard BrainPET workstation is approximately 16 s for each motion estimate. After rebinning in the sinogram space, the motion corrected data were summed, and the PET volume was reconstructed using the attenuation and scatter sinograms in the reference position. The accuracy of the MC algorithm was first tested using a Hoffman phantom. Next, human volunteer studies were performed, and motion estimates were obtained using 2 high-temporal-resolution MRI-based motion-tracking techniques. Results: After accounting for the misalignment between the 2 scanners, perfectly coregistered MRI and PET volumes were reproducibly obtained. The MRI output gates inserted into the PET list-mode allow the temporal correlation of the 2 datasets within 0.2 ms. The Hoffman phantom volume reconstructed by processing the PET data in the LOR space was similar to the one obtained by processing the data using the standard methods and applying the MC in the image space, demonstrating the quantitative accuracy of the procedure. In human volunteer studies, motion estimates were obtained from echo planar imaging and cloverleaf navigator sequences every 3 s and 20 ms, respectively. Motion-deblurred PET images, with excellent delineation of specific brain structures, were obtained using these 2 MRI-based estimates. Conclusion: An MRI-based MC algorithm was implemented for an integrated MR-PET scanner. High-temporal-resolution MRI-derived motion estimates (obtained while simultaneously acquiring anatomic or functional MRI data) can be used for PET MC. An MRI-based MC method has the potential to improve PET image quality, increasing its reliability, reproducibility, and quantitative accuracy, and to benefit many neurologic applications.