The ECORAD collaboration aims to develop a dual compact camera for acquiring ultrasound and scintigraphic images, in order to obtain morphological and functional information from a single device.
Functional and anatomic information are often considered together, in order to obtain a more reliable diagnosis. The visual quality and quantitative accuracy of radionuclide imaging, however, often lacks anatomic cues, necessary to localize or stage the diseases. Typically gamma images present poorer spatial resolution than anatomic ones, such as MRI, x rays or ultrasounds. Among the techniques able to provide anatomical information, ultrasounds are a cost-effective and reliable method. Further, ultrasound probes are one of the most common ways to assemble portable devices. These issues have motivated the development of this new detector, combining functional data from compact gamma camera with structural ones from ultrasound device.
In 2012, the activities were focused on the ultrasound-gamma probe with small field (50x25 mm2) for cardiac, clinical trials and intra-operative applications. This 1D/2D detector is extremely simplified respect to the ones developed during the previous activity of the ECORAD project, and its versatility has made it very attractive for a technology transfer. As a consequent this probe is patent pending by INFN.
The gamma detector is based on a planar scintillation crystal (low cost) coupled to a system of two-dimensional photo-detection able to produce high spatial resolution images. The apparatus is able to co-registered with high accuracy the information coming from linear ultrasound probe and small gamma camera. In addition, the gamma detector is equipped with a slit collimator ables to increase the efficiency of nearly 10 times respect to a GP collimator and, as a consequence, to obtain acquisition time comparable with one of ultrasound device