Effect of PET-MR Inconsistency in the Kernel Image Reconstruction Method.
Anatomically-driven image reconstruction algorithms have become very popular in positron emission tomography (PET) where they have demonstrated improved image resolution and quantification. This work, consider the effect of spatial inconsistency between MR and PET images in hot and cold regions of the PET image. We investigate these effects on the kernel method from machine learning, in particular, the hybrid kernelized expectation maximization (HKEM). These were applied to Jaszczak phantom and patient data acquired with the Biograph Siemens mMR. The results show that even a small shift can cause a significant change in activity concentration. In general, the PET-MR inconsistencies can induce the partial volume effect, more specifically the 'spill-in' of the affected cold regions and the 'spill-out' from the hot regions. The maximum change was about 100% for the cold region and 10% for the hot lesion using KEM, against the 37% and 8% obtained with HKEM. The findings of this work suggest that including PET information in the kernel enhances the flexibility of the reconstruction in case of spatial inconsistency. Nevertheless, accurate registration and choice of the appropriate MR image for the creation of the kernel is essential to avoid artifacts, blurring, and bias.