Real-time fluoroscopic, nuclear imaging may aid IR procedures

A team of Dutch researchers has developed a real-time hybrid fluoroscopic and nuclear imaging detector that may aid interventional radiology (IR) procedures such as radioembolization, according to authors of a Jan. 8 study published in Radiology.

Using hybrid modalities such as SPECT/CT in the IR suite is often difficult due to their large size. Additionally, interpreting nuclear imaging information is hard due to the lack of “coregistered anatomic information,” wrote Sandra van der Velden, with University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues.

Their detector includes an x-ray flat panel detector in front of a γ camera with cone beam collimator focused at the x-ray focal spot, and did not affect the spatial resolution of nuclear images. In fact, after acquiring phantom images, the dual-layer detector produced better nuclear image resolution, the authors wrote.

According to the researchers, their method did not require an intermediate reconstruction step, which eliminates added weight. The dual-layer detector also has improved weight between x-ray source and detector, they noted.

The detector reduced sensitivity by 45 to 60 percent. This will reduce the nuclear image quality, the authors wrote, but the goal of their method was not to produce the highest quality diagnostic images. The quality loss may be corrected by providing additional information from the IR.

“We have demonstrated the feasibility of acquiring real-time and intrinsically registered fluoroscopic and nuclear images of the same field of view by means of a dual-layer detector,” the authors concluded. “Such hybrid images may be used advantageously in interventional procedures involving radionuclides such as radioembolization.”