BACKGROUND: This study examines the clinical feasibility and impact of implementing a fully automated whole-body PET protocol with data-driven respiratory gating in patients with a broad range of oncological and non-oncological pathologies 592 FDG PET/CT patients were prospectively included. 200 patients with lesions in the torso were selected for further analysis, and ungated (UG), belt gated (BG) and data-driven gating (DDG) images were reconstructed. All images were reconstructed using the same data and without prolonged acquisition time for gated images. Images were quantitatively analysed for lesion uptake and metabolic volume, complemented by a qualitative analysis of visual lesion detection. In addition, the impact of gating on treatment response evaluation was evaluated in 23 patients with malignant lymphoma.
RESULTS: Placement of the belt needed for BG was associated with problems in 27% of the BG scans, whereas no issues were reported using DDG imaging. For lesion quantification, DDG and BG images had significantly greater SUV values and smaller volumes than UG. The physicians reported notable image blurring in 44% of the UG images that was problematic for clinical evaluation in 4.5% of cases.
CONCLUSION: Respiratory motion compensation using DDG is readily integrated into clinical routine and produce images with more accurate and significantly greater SUV values and smaller metabolic volumes. In our broad cohort of patients, the physicians overwhelmingly preferred gated over ungated images, with a slight preference for DDG images. However, even in patients with malignant disease in the torso, no additional diagnostic information was obtained by the gated images that could not be derived from the ungated images.