Background: The European Association of Nuclear Medicine procedure guidelines for whole-body fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography (FDG-PET) scanning prescribe a dose proportional to the patient's body mass. However, clinical practice shows degraded image quality in obese patients indicating that using an FDG dose proportional to body mass does not overcome size-related degradation of the image quality. The aim of this study was to optimize the administered FDG dose as a function of the patient's body mass or a different patient-dependent parameter, providing whole-body FDG-PET images of a more constant quality.
Methods: Using a linear relation between administered dose and body mass, FDG-PET imaging was performed on two PET/computed tomography scanners (Biograph TruePoint and Biograph mCT, Siemens). Image quality was assessed by the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the liver in 102 patients with a body mass of 46 to 130 kg. Moreover, the best correlating patient-dependent parameter was derived, and an optimized FDG dose regimen was determined. This optimized dose regimen was validated on the Biograph TruePoint system in 42 new patients. Furthermore, this relation was verified by a simulation study, in which patients with different body masses were simulated with cylindrical phantoms.
Results: As expected, both PET systems showed a significant decrease in SNR with increasing patient's body mass when using a linear dosage. When image quality was fitted to the patient-dependent parameters, the fit with the patient's body mass had the highest R-2. The optimized dose regimen was found to be A(new) = c/t x m(2), where m is the body mass, t is the acquisition time per bed position and c is a constant (depending on scanner type). Using this relation, SNR no longer varied with the patient's body mass. This quadratic relation between dose and body mass was confirmed by the simulation study.
Conclusion: A quadratic relation between FDG dose and the patient's body mass is recommended. Both simulations and clinical observations confirm that image quality remains constant across patients when this quadratic dose regimen is used.