Performance evaluation of the GE healthcare eXplore VISTA dual-ring small-animal PET scanner

Yuchuan Wang, Jurgen Seidel, Benjamin M.W. Tsui, Juan J. Vaquero, Martin G. Pomper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


We evaluated the performance characteristics of the eXplore VISTA dual-ring small-animal PET scanner, a stationary, ringtype, depth-of-interaction (DOI) correcting system designed to simultaneously maximize sensitivity, resolution, and resolution uniformity over a field of view sufficient to image rodent-sized animals. Methods: We measured the intrinsic spatial resolution response of the VISTA detector modules, spatial and volume resolution throughout a representative portion of the field of view, and imaged several common resolution phantoms to provide a qualitative picture of resolution performance. We obtained an axial sensitivity profile and measured central point source sensitivity, scatter fractions and noise equivalent count (NEC) rates for rat- and mouse-sized objects using different energy windows, and count rate linearity. In addition, we measured the energy and timing resolution of both of the crystal layers (cerium-doped gadolinium orthosilicate and cerium-doped lutetium-yttrium orthosilicate) that give VISTA machines a DOI compensation capability. We examined the effectiveness of this DOI compensation by comparing spatial resolution measurements with and without the DOI correction enabled. Finally, several animal studies were included to illustrate system performance in the field. Results: Spatial and volume resolutions averaged approximately 1.4 mm and 2.9 mm3, respectively (with 3-dimensional Fourier rebinning and 2-dimensional filtered backprojection image reconstructions and an energy window of 250-700 keV), along the central axis of the scanner, and the spatial resolution was better than 1.7 mm and 2.1 mm at 1 and 2 cm off the central axis, respectively. Central point source sensitivity measured approximately 4% with peak NEC rates of 126.8 kcps at 455 kBq/mL and 77.1 kcps at 141 kBq/mL for mouse- and rat-sized uniform, cylindric phantoms, respectively. The radial spatial resolution at 2.8 cm off axis with DOI compensation was 2.5 mm but degraded (by 56%) to 3.9 mm without DOI compensation (as would be the case with a geometrically identical scanner without DOI correction capability). Conclusion: These results indicate that the VISTA small-animal PET scanner is well suited to imaging rodent-sized animals. The combination of high spatial resolution, resolution uniformity, sensitivity, and count rate performance, made possible in part by the novel use of phoswich detector modules, confers significant technical advantages over machines with similar geometry but without DOI correction capability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1891-1900
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006


  • PET performance evaluation
  • Small-animal PET
  • VISTA small-animal PET scanner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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