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In Journal of digital imaging

Deep learning (DL) has shown great potential in conversions between various imaging modalities. Similarly, DL can be applied to synthesize a high-kV computed tomography (CT) image from its corresponding low-kV CT image. This indicates the feasibility of obtaining dual-energy CT (DECT) images without purchasing a DECT scanner. In this study, we investigated whether a low-to-high kV mapping was better than a high-to-low kV mapping. We used a U-Net model to perform conversions between different kV CT images. Moreover, we proposed a double U-Net model to improve the quality of original single-energy CT images. Ninety-eight patients who underwent brain DECT scans were used to train, validate, and test the proposed DL-based model. The results showed that the low-to-high kV conversion was better than the high-to-low kV conversion. In addition, the DL-based DECT images had better signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) than the true (original) DECT images, but at the expense of a slight loss in spatial resolution. The mean CT number differences between the true and DL-based DECT images were within [Formula: see text] 1 HU. No statistically significant difference in CT number measurements was found between the true and DL-based DECT images (p > 0.05). The DL-based DECT images with improved SNR could produce low-noise virtual monoenergetic images. Our preliminary results indicate that DL has the potential to generate brain DECT images using single-energy brain CT images.

Liu Chi-Kuang, Liu Chih-Chieh, Yang Cheng-Hsun, Huang Hsuan-Ming


Deep learning, Dual-energy computed tomography, U-net