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2 May 2003 SPECT imaging of pulmonary blood flow in a rat
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Small animal imaging is experiencing rapid development due to its importance in providing high-throughput phenotypic data for functional genomics studies. We have developed a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) system to image the pulmonary perfusion distribution in the rat. A standard gamma camera, equipped with a pinhole collimator, was used to acquire SPECT projection images at 40 sec/view of the rat thorax following injection of Tc99m labeled albumin that accumulated in the rat's lungs. A voxel-driven, ordered-subset expectation maximization reconstruction was implemented. Following SPECT imaging, the rat was imaged using micro-CT with Feldkamp conebeam reconstruction. The two reconstructed image volumes were fused to provide a structure/function image of the rat thorax. Reconstruction accuracy and performance were evaluated using numerical simulations and actual imaging of an experimental phantom consisting of Tc99m filled chambers with known diameters and count rates. Full-width half-maximum diameter measurement errors decreased with increasing chamber diameter, ranging from < 6% down to 0.1%. Errors in the ratio of count rate estimates between tubes were also diameter dependent but still relatively small. This preliminary study suggests that SPECT will be useful for imaging and quantifying the pulmonary blood flow distribution and the distribution of Tc99m labeled ligands in the lungs of small laboratory animals.
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Christian Wietholt, Robert C. Molthen, Roger H. Johnson, Christopher A. Dawson, and Anne V. Clough "SPECT imaging of pulmonary blood flow in a rat", Proc. SPIE 5031, Medical Imaging 2003: Physiology and Function: Methods, Systems, and Applications, (2 May 2003);


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