DOI: 10.1186/s40658-018-0207-xPages: 1-12

Initial experience with a SiPM-based PET/CT scanner: influence of acquisition time on image quality

1. Stanford University, Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology

2. Stanford University, Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford, Department of Radiology

3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging

Correspondence to:
Andrei Iagaru




A newly introduced PET/CT scanner (Discovery Meaningful Insights—DMI, GE Healthcare) includes the silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) with time-of-flight (TOF) technology first used in the GE SIGNA PET/MRI. In this study, we investigated the impact of various acquisition times on image quality using this SiPM-based PET/CT.


We reviewed data from 58 participants with cancer who were scanned using the DMI PET/CT scanner. The administered dosages ranged 295.3–429.9 MBq (mean ± SD 356.3 ± 37.4) and imaging started at 71–142 min (mean ± SD 101.41 ± 17.52) after administration of the radiopharmaceutical. The patients’ BMI ranged 19.79–46.16 (mean ± SD 26.55 ± 5.53). We retrospectively reconstructed the raw TOF data at 30, 60, 90, and 120 s/bed and at the standard image acquisition time per clinical protocol (180 or 210 s/bed depending on BMI). Each reconstruction was reviewed blindly by two nuclear medicine physicians and scored 1–5 (1—poor, 5—excellent quality). The liver signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was used as a quantitative measure of image quality.


The average scores ± SD of the readers were 2.61 ± 0.83, 3.70 ± 0.92, 4.36 ± 0.82, 4.82 ± 0.39, and 4.91 ± 0.91 for the 30, 60, 90, and 120 s/bed and at standard acquisition time, respectively. Inter-reader agreement on image quality assessment was good, with a weighted kappa of 0.80 (95% CI 0.72–0.81). In the evaluation of the effects of time per bed acquisition on semi-quantitative measurements, we found that the only time point significantly different from the standard time were 30 and 60 s (both with P < 0.001). The effects of dose and BMI were not statistically significant (P = 0.195 and 0.098, respectively). There was a significant positive effect of time on SNR (P < 0.001), as well as a significant negative effect of weight (P < 0.001).


Our results suggest that despite significant delays from injection to imaging (due to comparison with standard PET/CT) compared to standard clinical operations and even in a population with average BMI > 25, images can be acquired as fast as 90 s/bed using the SiPM PET/CT and still result in very good image quality (average score > 4).

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  • Accepted: Feb 21, 2018
  • Online: Apr 18, 2018

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