Evaluating image denoising methods in myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging

S. Skiadopoulos, A. Karatrantou, P. Korfiatis, L. Costaridou, P. Vassilakos, D. Apostolopoulos, G. Panayiotakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The statistical nature of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging, due to the Poisson noise effect, results in the degradation of image quality, especially in the case of lesions of low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A variety of well-established single-scale denoising methods applied on projection raw images have been incorporated in SPECT imaging applications, while multi-scale denoising methods with promising performance have been proposed. In this paper, a comparative evaluation study is performed between a multi-scale platelet denoising method and the well-established Butterworth filter applied as a pre- and post-processing step on images reconstructed without and/or with attenuation correction. Quantitative evaluation was carried out employing (i) a cardiac phantom containing two different size cold defects, utilized in two experiments conducted to simulate conditions without and with photon attenuation from myocardial surrounding tissue and (ii) a pilot-verified clinical dataset of 15 patients with ischemic defects. Image noise, defect contrast, SNR and defect contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) metrics were computed for both phantom and patient defects. In addition, an observer preference study was carried out for the clinical dataset, based on rankings from two nuclear medicine clinicians. Without photon attenuation conditions, denoising by platelet and Butterworth post-processing methods outperformed Butterworth pre-processing for large size defects, while for small size defects, as well as with photon attenuation conditions, all methods have demonstrated similar denoising performance. Under both attenuation conditions, the platelet method showed improved performance with respect to defect contrast, SNR and defect CNR in the case of images reconstructed without attenuation correction, however not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Quantitative as well as preference results obtained from clinical data showed similar performance of the denoising methods studied. In conclusion, the multi-scale platelet denoising method applied on raw projection images provides more efficient noise reduction while preserving image quality in a myocardial phantom SPECT imaging as compared to the Butterworth filter applied either on projection or reconstructed images. However, this trend in favour of the platelet denoising method was not observed on clinical data reconstructed either without or with attenuation correction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104023
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009


  • Attenuation correction
  • Butterworth filter
  • Image denoising
  • Multi-scale platelet analysis
  • Myocardial perfusion
  • SPECT imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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