Date of Graduation

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Richard E. Wendt III, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Erwin, MS.

Committee Member

S. Cheenu Kappadath, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul H. Murphy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lynn H. Vogel, Ph.D.

Committee Member

R. Allen White, Ph.D.

Abstract

Detector uniformity is a fundamental performance characteristic of all modern gamma camera systems, and ensuring a stable, uniform detector response is critical for maintaining clinical images that are free of artifact. For these reasons, the assessment of detector uniformity is one of the most common activities associated with a successful clinical quality assurance program in gamma camera imaging. The evaluation of this parameter, however, is often unclear because it is highly dependent upon acquisition conditions, reviewer expertise, and the application of somewhat arbitrary limits that do not characterize the spatial location of the non-uniformities. Furthermore, as the goal of any robust quality control program is the determination of significant deviations from standard or baseline conditions, clinicians and vendors often neglect the temporal nature of detector degradation (1).

This thesis describes the development and testing of new methods for monitoring detector uniformity. These techniques provide more quantitative, sensitive, and specific feedback to the reviewer so that he or she may be better equipped to identify performance degradation prior to its manifestation in clinical images. The methods exploit the temporal nature of detector degradation and spatially segment distinct regions-of-non-uniformity using multi-resolution decomposition. These techniques were tested on synthetic phantom data using different degradation functions, as well as on experimentally acquired time series floods with induced, progressively worsening defects present within the field-of-view. The sensitivity of conventional, global figures-of-merit for detecting changes in uniformity was evaluated and compared to these new image-space techniques. The image-space algorithms provide a reproducible means of detecting regions-of-non-uniformity prior to any single flood image’s having a NEMA uniformity value in excess of 5%. The sensitivity of these image-space algorithms was found to depend on the size and magnitude of the non-uniformities, as well as on the nature of the cause of the non-uniform region. A trend analysis of the conventional figures-of-merit demonstrated their sensitivity to shifts in detector uniformity. The image-space algorithms are computationally efficient. Therefore, the image-space algorithms should be used concomitantly with the trending of the global figures-of-merit in order to provide the reviewer with a richer assessment of gamma camera detector uniformity characteristics.

Keywords

gamma camera, quality control, uniformity, multiresolution, statistical process control