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Free ImageJ plugins to support nuclear medicine physics equipment quality control examinations.


Proper quality control (QC) procedures in single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) play an essential role in ensuring optimized performance of imaging equipment, and are a requisite for providing high quality clinical care. Since QC procedures are implemented routinely, streamlining them with automated software may offer several benefits: improved speed, reduced errors, and the standardization of calculation methods across centres.

The IAEA Nuclear Medicine Quality Control (NMQC) Toolkit is a set of ImageJ (Fiji edition)-based codes developed in Java v.1.8 that allow the processing and analysis of nuclear medicine images acquired for quality control tests of gamma cameras and SPECT systems. Image acquisition of the tests should be performed as described in the guidance document IAEA Human Health Series No. 6 on “Quality Assurance for SPECT Systems” and/or in the NEMA NU 1-2012 standard - Performance Measurements of Gamma Cameras. Tutorial videos demonstrating in practice the procedures to perform the tests can be found here.

The IAEA-NMQC Toolkit has been developed to support common SPECT QC data analysis procedures for several QC tests. The plugins included in the IAEA-NMQC Toolkit are designed to be easy to use and allow the automatic or semi-automatic analysis of the following tests:

  • Planar uniformity;
  • Maximum count rate;
  • Sensitivity;
  • Intrinsic spatial resolution; 
  • Intrinsic spatial linearity;
  • System spatial resolution;
  • Pixel size;
  • 4 quadrant bar phantom;
  • Centre of rotation;
  • Tomographic contrast;
  • Tomographic resolution;
  • Tomographic uniformity.

Installation instructions:

The IAEA-NMQC Toolkit is a free resource for the community to aid with standardized, rapid analysis of QC test images from various vendors.

To install:
- Install Fiji edition of ImageJ (downloadable here);
- Download IAEA-NMQC Toolkit here ;
- Copy the NMCQ_1.0.jar file to the “Plugins” folder of the Fiji installation.

Once these steps are completed, the NMQC plugins should be visible on the Fiji interface in the “Plugins” menu.

Detailed instructions for installation of IAEA-NMQC Toolkit and its use can be found in this User’s Manual.

The plugins included in the IAEA-NMQC Toolkit have been tested and validated using images acquired on machines frommajor vendors and/or using simulated images. Comments or suggestions are welcome, please send them by email to dosimetry@iaea.org.

A set of simulated images can be downloaded here

Below are some examples of the outputs given by the plug-ins.




The IAEA-NMQC Toolkit has been developed by Alex Vergara Gil (Division of Clinical Research, Centre of Isotopes, Havana, Cuba) with support and validation by Leonel Torres Aroche (Clinical Research, Centre of Isotopes, Havana, Cuba) and Gian Luca Poli (Dosimetry and Medical Radiation Physics section, Division of Human Health, IAEA).

Acknowledgement is also given for the assistance of Elena De Ponti (Ospedale San Gerardo, Monza, Italy), Adam Kesner (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA) and Federica Fioroni (Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale – IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Italy, Italy) for their help in acquiring the data and for the useful discussion, and of Theresa Feddersen and Elisabeth Salomon for their support in the validation.

The development of the IAEA-QCNM Toolkit was supported by the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) project of Switzerland.

The IAEA officer responsible for the module was Gian Luca Poli, Dosimetry and Medical Radiation Physics section, Division of Human Health.