Indexed on: 09 Jun '12Published on: 09 Jun '12Published in: Recenti progressi in medicina
The integration of complementary information from different medical imaging techniques opened, since the 90s, new scenarios and possibilities for non-invasive diagnosis. The anatomo-functional information obtained with the image fusion (i.e., by composing PET and CT or SPECT and CT), is greater than the sum of information given by each modality, and allows quantitative evaluation of functional parameters through the application of specific model-based image processing. Before the introduction of integrated multimodal scanners from most manufacturers (hardware fusion), many software techniques have been used to allow image fusion from different modalities; such methods of software fusion is still important for all modalities that cannot by merged in a single scanner, or whenever the patient movement can introduce inter-modality misalignments within the same exam in an integrated scanner or if each modality is utilized at different times and on separate scanners. This article summarizes the software and hardware evolution of clinical and preclinical hybrid imaging, and discusses the outcome of this technology in the clinical environment with particular emphasis on the cardiovascular application.