IHE adds Image Fusion Profile to link PET/CT and PACS

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The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise initiative this week at the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s (SNM) 53rd Annual Meeting in San Diego announced the release of a new Image Fusion Profile that enables the display of fused PET and CT images on PET displays. The profile, currently published for “trial implementation,” allows images to move to PACS rather than just be reviewed on dedicated PET workstations.

The Image Fusion Profile is part of the Nuclear Medicine Profile, for which a revised profile was published in May, that specifies how nuclear medicine systems and PACS should interact when dealing with nuclear medicine data. The primary focus is storage and display of this data on PACS, namely that data flow seamlessly between nuclear medicine and PACS workstations, with secondary emphasis on exam scheduling, creation, processing and transmission of nuclear medicine data. The profile includes the General NM Image Option that focuses on non-cardiac nuclear medicine imaging; the Cardiac NM Option focused on myocardial perfusion imaging and gated blood pool imaging; the Result Screen Export Option for exporting gated cardiac screens and exporting non-moving result screens; and the MPR Option deals with display or SPECT images in multiple planes.

The Image Fusion Profile addresses the ability to convey registered data from one system to another for further processing, storage and display. It also can present repeatable fused displays consisting of a grayscale underlying image and a colored overlay image. It has been designed to meet the needs of PET/CT fusion as well as for use in general radiology, regardless of modality type.

The special DICOM objects in the Image Fusion Profile include a “Registration object” that defines how two image sets are aligned which is optional for already registered PET/CT data from a hybrid scanner and a “Blending Presentation State” the defines how the fused data should be displayed. It includes pointers to the images, window level settings, color tables and a registration object if it is present.

With the trial implementation, vendors can now implement test versions of their software that can be verified against other vendors data at the annual connect-a-thon at RSNA Headquarters in Chicago in January, said Chris Carr, RSNA’s director: informatics. Portions of the profile apply to acquisition systems, processing workstations, image storage devices and images displays. Participation workshops are scheduled for this summer and vendors can contact IHE (www.ihe.net) for more information.