Implementation and validation of time-of-flight PET image reconstruction module for listmode and sinogram projection data in the STIR library

Nikos Efthimiou, Elise Emond, Palak Wadhwa, Christopher Cawthorne, Charalampos Tsoumpas, Kris Thielemans

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In this paper, we describe the implementation of support for time-of-flight (TOF) positron emission tomography (PET) for both listmode and sinogram data in the open source software for tomographic image reconstruction (STIR). We provide validation and performance characterization using simulated data from the open source GATE Monte Carlo toolbox, with TOF configurations spanning from 81.2 to 209.6 ps. The coincidence detector resolution was corrected for the timing resolution deterioration due to the contribution of the crystal length. Comparison between the reconstruction of listmode and sinogram data demonstrated good agreement in both TOF and non-TOF cases in terms of relative absolute error. To reduce the reconstruction time, we assessed the truncation of the TOF kernel along lines-of-response (LOR). Rejection of LOR elements beyond four times the TOF standard deviation provides significant acceleration of ∼45% without compromising the image quality. Further narrowing of the kernel can provide extra time reduction but with the gradual introduction of error in the reconstructed images. As expected, TOF reconstruction performs better than non-TOF in terms of both contrast-recovery-coefficient (CRC) and signal-tonoise ratio (SNR). CRC achieves convergence faster with TOF, at lower noise levels. SNR with TOF was superior for early iterations, but with quick deterioration. Higher timing resolution further improved reconstruction performance, while TOF bin mashing was shown to have only a small impact on reconstructed images.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035004
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jan-2019
Externally publishedYes


  • computer simulations
  • medical imaging
  • Monte Carlo
  • open-source software
  • positron emission tomography
  • radionuclide imaging
  • time-of-flight

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