Evaluation of the accuracy and precision of lung aerosol deposition measurements from single-photon emission computed tomography using simulation.

Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, Southampton University Hospitals, NHS Trust, Southampton, United Kingdom.
Journal of Aerosol Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.61). 02/2000; 13(3):187-98. DOI: 10.1089/jam.2000.13.187
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging is being increasingly used to assess inhaled aerosol deposition. This study uses simulation to evaluate the errors involved in such measurements and to compare them with those from conventional planar imaging. SPECT images of known theoretical distributions of radioaerosol in the lung have been simulated using lung models derived from magnetic resonance studies in human subjects. Total lung activity was evaluated from the simulated images. A spherical transform of the lung distributions was performed, and the absolute penetration index (PI) and a relative value expressed as a fraction of that in a simulated ventilation image were calculated. All parameters were compared with the true value used in the simulation, and the errors were assessed. An iterative method was used to correct for the partial volume effect, and its effectiveness in improving errors was evaluated. The errors were compared with those of planar imaging. The precision of measurements was significantly better for SPECT than planar imaging (2.8 vs 6.3% for total lung activity, 6 vs 20% for PI, and 3 vs 6% for relative PI). The method of correcting for the influence of the partial volume effect significantly improved the accuracy of PI evaluation without affecting precision. SPECT is capable of accurate and precise measurements of aerosol distribution in the lung, which are improved compared with those measured by conventional planar imaging. A technique for correcting the SPECT data for the influence of the partial volume effect has been described. Simulation is demonstrated as a valuable method of technique evaluation and comparison.