Background: We aim to assess the spill-in effect and the benefit in quantitative accuracy for [18F]-NaF PET/CT imaging of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) using the background correction (BC) technique.
Methods: Seventy-two datasets of patients diagnosed with AAA were reconstructed with ordered subset expectation maximization algorithm incorporating point spread function (PSF). Spill-in effect was investigated for the entire aneurysm (AAA), and part of the aneurysm excluding the region close to the bone (AAAexc). Quantifications of PSF and PSF+BC images using different thresholds (% of max. SUV in target regions-of-interest) to derive target-to-background (TBR) values (TBRmax, TBR90, TBR70 and TBR50) were compared at 3 and 10 iterations.
Results: TBR differences were observed between AAA and AAAexc due to spill-in effect from the bone into the aneurysm. TBRmax showed the highest sensitivity to the spill-in effect while TBR50 showed the least. The spill-in effect was reduced at 10 iterations compared to 3 iterations, but at the expense of reduced contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). TBR50 yielded the best trade-off between increased CNR and reduced spill-in effect. PSF+BC method reduced TBR sensitivity to spill-in effect, especially at 3 iterations, compared to PSF (P-value ≤ 0.05).
Conclusion: TBR50 is robust metric for reduced spill-in and increased CNR.