This paper presents two 4D mathematical observer models for the detection of motion defects in 4D gated medical images. Their performance was compared with results from human observers in detecting a regional motion abnormality in simulated 4D gated myocardial perfusion (MP) SPECT images. The first 4D mathematical observer model extends the conventional channelized Hotelling observer (CHO) based on a set of 2D spatial channels and the second is a proposed model that uses a set of 4D space-time channels. Simulated projection data were generated using the 4D NURBS-based cardiac-torso (NCAT) phantom with 16 gates/cardiac cycle. The activity distribution modelled uptake of 99mTc MIBI with normal perfusion and a regional wall motion defect. An analytical projector was used in the simulation and the filtered backprojection (FBP) algorithm was used in image reconstruction followed by spatial and temporal low-pass filtering with various cut-off frequencies. Then, we extracted 2D image slices from each time frame and reorganized them into a set of cine images. For the first model, we applied 2D spatial channels to the cine images and generated a set of feature vectors that were stacked for the images from different slices of the heart. The process was repeated for each of the 1,024 noise realizations, and CHO and receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis methodologies were applied to the ensemble of the feature vectors to compute areas under the ROC curves (AUCs). For the second model, a set of 4D space-time channels was developed and applied to the sets of cine images to produce space-time feature vectors to which the CHO methodology was applied. The AUC values of the second model showed better agreement (Spearman's rank correlation (SRC) coefficient = 0.8) to human observer results than those from the first model (SRC coefficient = 0.4). The agreement with human observers indicates the proposed 4D mathematical observer model provides a good predictor of the performance of human observers in detecting regional motion defects in 4D gated MP SPECT images. The result supports the use of the observer model in the optimization and evaluation of 4D image reconstruction and compensation methods for improving the detection of motion abnormalities in 4D gated MP SPECT images.
- 4D mathematical observer
- ROC study
- gated SPECT
- task-based evaluation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging