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In BMC medical imaging

BACKGROUND : To evaluate the performance of a Deep Learning Image Reconstruction (DLIR) algorithm in pediatric head CT for improving image quality and lesion detection with 0.625 mm thin-slice images.

METHODS : Low-dose axial head CT scans of 50 children with 120 kV, 0.8 s rotation and age-dependent 150-220 mA tube current were selected. Images were reconstructed at 5 mm and 0.625 mm slice thickness using Filtered back projection (FBP), Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction-v at 50% strength (50%ASIR-V) (as reference standard), 100%ASIR-V and DLIR-high (DL-H). The CT attenuation and standard deviation values of the gray and white matters in the basal ganglia were measured. The clarity of sulci/cisterns, boundary between white and gray matters, and overall image quality was subjectively evaluated. The number of lesions in each reconstruction group was counted.

RESULTS : The 5 mm FBP, 50%ASIR-V, 100%ASIR-V and DL-H images had a subjective score of 2.25 ± 0.44, 3.05 ± 0.23, 2.87 ± 0.39 and 3.64 ± 0.49 in a 5-point scale, respectively with DL-H having the lowest image noise of white matter at 2.00 ± 0.34 HU; For the 0.625 mm images, only DL-H images met the diagnostic requirement. The 0.625 mm DL-H images had similar image noise (3.11 ± 0.58 HU) of the white matter and overall image quality score (3.04 ± 0.33) as the 5 mm 50% ASIR-V images (3.16 ± 0.60 HU and 3.05 ± 0.23). Sixty-five lesions were recognized in 5 mm 50%ASIR-V images and 69 were detected in 0.625 mm DL-H images.

CONCLUSION : DL-H improves the head CT image quality for children compared with ASIR-V images. The 0.625 mm DL-H images improve lesion detection and produce similar image noise as the 5 mm 50%ASIR-V images, indicating a potential 85% dose reduction if current image quality and slice thickness are desired.

Sun Jihang, Li Haoyan, Wang Bei, Li Jianying, Li Michelle, Zhou Zuofu, Peng Yun


CT, Children, Deep learning, Head, IR, Low-dose