Investigating the state-of-the-art in whole-body MR-based attenuation correction: an intra-individual, inter-system, inventory study on three clinical PET/MR systems

Thomas Beyer, Martin L. Lassen, Ronald Boellaard, Gaspar Delso, Maqsood Yaqub, Bernhard Sattler, Harald H. Quick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Objective We assess inter- and intra-subject variability of magnetic resonance (MR)-based attenuation maps (MRμMaps) of human subjects for state-of-the-art positron emission tomography (PET)/MR imaging systems. Materials and methods Four healthy male subjects underwent repeated MR imaging with a Siemens Biograph mMR, Philips Ingenuity TF and GE SIGNA PET/MR system using product-specific MR sequences and image processing algorithms for generating MRμMaps. Total lung volumes and mean attenuation values in nine thoracic reference regions were calculated. Linear regression was used for comparing lung volumes on MRμMaps. Intra- and inter-system variability was investigated using a mixed effects model. Results Intra-system variability was seen for the lung volume of some subjects, (p = 0.29). Mean attenuation values across subjects were significantly different (p < 0.001) due to different segmentations of the trachea. Differences in the attenuation values caused noticeable intra-individual and inter-system differences that translated into a subsequent bias of the corrected PET activity values, as verified by independent simulations. Conclusion Significant differences of MRμMaps generated for the same subjects but different PET/MR systems resulted in differences in attenuation correction factors, particularly in the thorax. These differences currently limit the quantitative use of PET/MR in multi-center imaging studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-87
JournalMagnetic resonance materials in physics biology and medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


  • Accuracy
  • Combined PET/MR
  • MR-based attenuation correction
  • Reproducibility
  • Whole-body hybrid imaging

Cite this