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Dose Optimization of Hybrid Imaging

Fahey, Frederic H.1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001006

Hybrid imaging combines the functional and molecular imaging of positron emission computed tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography with the anatomical information available from computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. As a result, the clinical utility of positron emission computed tomography/computed tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography has been clearly established in the past 17 y. In addition, the use of positron emission computed tomography/magnetic resonance, which was introduced to the clinic in the past decade, has continued to grow. These multimodality approaches to medical imaging have substantial dosimetric aspects associated with their practice in both adults and children. For positron emission computed tomography/computed tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography, one must consider the radiation dose delivered from both the radiopharmaceutical and the computed tomography portion of the hybrid scan. Whether the computed tomography is to be used solely for attenuation correction, anatomical correlation of patient, or full diagnosis must be taken into account when deciding on the computed tomography acquisition parameters. Even after 17 y, the most appropriate approach to the acquisition of these modalities is not fully established. When appropriately used, positron emission computed tomography/magnetic resonance provides the opportunity for notable dose reduction. In addition to the elimination of the radiation dose from the computed tomography, one may consider the higher sensitivity of the positron emission computed tomography component relative to that used in positron emission computed tomography/computed tomography and the longer acquisition time to reduce the amount of administered activity of the radiopharmaceutical. However, one must realize that magnetic resonance presents a different set of safety concerns outside of those associated with ionizing radiation. As with all medical procedures, the benefits as well as the potential risks of the procedure need to be evaluated in the context of choosing the most appropriate procedure to be performed and the optimization of acquisition protocol to assure high-quality clinical information with the least potential for risk possible.

1 Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115; and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact the author at the above address, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 23 September 2018)

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society