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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

2021-Jul-08

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