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Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) monitoring and risk of rupture is currently assumed to be correlated with the aneurysm diameter. Aneurysm growth, however, has been demonstrated to be unpredictable. Using PET to measure uptake of [18F]-NaF in calcified lesions of the abdominal aorta has been shown to be useful for identifying AAA and to predict its growth. The PET low spatial resolution, however, can affect the accuracy of the diagnosis. Advanced edge-preserving reconstruction algorithms can overcome this issue. The kernel method has been demonstrated to provide noise suppression while retaining emission and edge information. Nevertheless, these findings were obtained using simulations, phantoms and a limited amount of patient data. In this study, the authors aim to investigate the usefulness of the anatomically guided kernelized expectation maximization (KEM) and the hybrid KEM (HKEM) methods and to judge the statistical significance of the related improvements. Sixty-one datasets of patients with AAA and 11 from control patients were reconstructed with ordered subsets expectation maximization (OSEM), HKEM and KEM and the analysis was carried out using the target-to-blood-pool ratio, and a series of statistical tests. The results show that all algorithms have similar diagnostic power, but HKEM and KEM can significantly recover uptake of lesions and improve the accuracy of the diagnosis by up to 22% compared to OSEM. The same improvements are likely to be obtained in clinical applications based on the quantification of small lesions, like for example cancer. This article is part of the theme issue 'Synergistic tomographic image reconstruction: part 1'.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos trans a math phys eng sci

Publication Date





PET, PET/CT, aortic aneurysm, kernel method, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Algorithms, Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal, Case-Control Studies, Computer Simulation, Databases, Factual, Fluorine Radioisotopes, Humans, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Phantoms, Imaging, Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography, Radiopharmaceuticals, Sodium Fluoride