Deep learning based reconstruction may improve non-contrast cerebral CT imaging compared to other current reconstruction algorithms
L. Oostveen, F. Meijer, F. de Lange, E. Smit, S. Pegge, S. Steens, M. van Amerongen, M. Prokop and I. Sechopoulos.
To evaluate image quality and reconstruction times of a commercial deep learning reconstruction algorithm (DLR) compared to hybrid-iterative reconstruction (Hybrid-IR) and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR) algorithms for cerebral non-contrast CT (NCCT).
Cerebral NCCT acquisitions of 50 consecutive patients were reconstructed using DLR, Hybrid-IR and MBIR with a clinical CT system. Image quality, in terms of six subjective characteristics (noise, sharpness, grey-white matter differentiation, artefacts, natural appearance and overall image quality), was scored by five observers. As objective metrics of image quality, the noise magnitude and signal-difference-to-noise ratio (SDNR) of the grey and white matter were calculated. Mean values for the image quality characteristics scored by the observers were estimated using a general linear model to account for multiple readers. The estimated means for the reconstruction methods were pairwise compared. Calculated measures were compared using paired t tests.
For all image quality characteristics, DLR images were scored significantly higher than MBIR images. Compared to Hybrid-IR, perceived noise and grey-white matter differentiation were better with DLR, while no difference was detected for other image quality characteristics. Noise magnitude was lower for DLR compared to Hybrid-IR and MBIR (5.6, 6.4 and 6.2, respectively) and SDNR higher (2.4, 1.9 and 2.0, respectively). Reconstruction times were 27 s, 44 s and 176 s for Hybrid-IR, DLR and MBIR respectively.
With a slight increase in reconstruction time, DLR results in lower noise and improved tissue differentiation compared to Hybrid-IR. Image quality of MBIR is significantly lower compared to DLR with much longer reconstruction times.