The noise equivalent count (NEC) rate index is used to derive guidelines on the optimal injected dose to the patient for 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) whole-body PET acquisitions. Methods: We performed 2D and 3D whole-body acquisitions of an anthropomorphic phantom modeling the conditions for 18F-FDG PET of the torso and measured the NEC rates for different activity levels for several organs of interest. The correlations between count rates measured from the phantom and those from a series of whole-body patient scans were then analyzed. This analysis allowed validation of our approach and estimation of the injected dose that maximizes NEC rate as a function of patient morphology for both acquisition modes. Results: Variations of the phantom and patient prompt and random coincidence rates as a function of single-photon rates correlated well. On the basis of these correlations, we demonstrated that the patient NEC rate can be predicted for a given single-photon rate. Finally, we determined that patient singlephoton rates correlated with the mean dose per weight at acquisition start when normalized by the body mass index. This correlation allows modifying the injected dose as a function of patient body mass index to reach the peak NEC rate in 3D mode. Conversely, we found that the peak NEC rates were never reached in 2D mode within an acceptable range of injected dose. Conclusion: The injected dose was adapted to patient morphology for 2D and 3D whole-body acquisitions using the NEC rate as a figure of merit of the statistical quality of the sinogram data. This study is a first step toward a more comprehensive comparison of the image quality obtained using both acquisition modes. Key Words: PET; whole-body acquisitions; noise equivalent count rat
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