DOI: 10.1186/s40658-017-0202-7Pages: 1-16

Deadtime effects in quantification of 177Lu activity for radionuclide therapy

1. University of British Columbia, Medical Imaging Research Group

2. British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Department of Molecular Oncology

3. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Correspondence to:
Carlos F. Uribe
Tel: (+1)-604-700-5892




The aim of this study was to investigate the deadtime (DT) effects that are present in 177Lu images acquired after radionuclide therapy injection, assess differences in DT based on the full spectrum and the photopeak-only measurements, and design a method to correct for the deadtime losses.

A Siemens SymbiaT SPECT/CT camera with a medium energy collimator was used. A 295-mL bottle was placed off-center inside a large cylinder filled with water, and 177Lu activity was sequentially added up to a maximum of 9.12 GBq. The true count rates vs. observed count rates were plotted and fitted to the DT paralyzable model. This analysis was performed using counts recorded in the full spectrum and in other energy windows. The DT correction factors were calculated using the percentage difference between the true and the observed count rates.


The DT values of 5.99 ± 0.02 μs, 4.60 ± 0.052 μs, and 0.19 ± 0.18 μs were obtained for the primary photons (PP) recorded in the 113- and 208-keV photopeaks and for the full spectrum, respectively. For the investigated range of count rates, the DT correction factors of up to 23% were observed for PP corresponding to the 113-keV photopeak, while for the 208-keV photopeak values of up to 20% were obtained. These values were almost three times higher than the deadtime correction factors derived from the full spectrum.


The paralyzable model showed to be appropriate for the investigated range of counts, which were five to six times higher than those observed in the patient post-therapy imaging. Our results suggest that the deadtime corrections should be based on count losses in the scatter-corrected photopeak window and not on the deadtime determined from the full spectrum. Finally, a general procedure that can be followed to correct patient images for deadtime is presented.

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  • Accepted: Dec 7, 2017
  • Online: Jan 11, 2018

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