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In European journal of radiology ; h5-index 47.0

PURPOSE : A major drawback of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is its limited imaging speed. This study proposed an ultrafast cervical spine MRI protocol (2 min 57 s) using deep learning-based reconstruction (DLR) and compared the diagnostic results to those of conventional MRI protocols (12 min 54 s).

METHODS : Fifty patients who underwent cervical spine MRI using both conventional and ultrafast protocols, including sagittal T1-weighted, T2-weighted, short-TI inversion recovery, and axial T2*-weighted imaging were included in this study. The ultrafast protocol shortened the acquisition time to approximately-one-fourth of that of the conventional protocol by reducing the phase matrix, oversampling rate, and number of excitations, and by applying compressed sensing. To compensate for the decreased signal-to-noise ratio caused by acceleration, noise reduction using DLR was performed. For image interpretation, three neuroradiologists graded or classified degenerative changes, including central canal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, endplate degeneration, disc degeneration, and disc hernia. The presence of other pathologies was also recorded. Given the absence of a reference standard, we tested the interchangeability of the two protocols by calculating the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the individual equivalence index. We also assessed the inter-protocol intra-reader agreement using kappa statistics.

RESULTS : Except for endplate degeneration, the 95 % CI of the individual equivalence index for all variables did not exceed 5 %, indicating interchangeability between the two protocols. The kappa values ranged from 0.600 to 0.977, indicating substantial to almost perfect agreement.

CONCLUSIONS : The proposed ultrafast MRI protocol yielded almost equivalent diagnostic results compared as the conventional protocol.

Kashiwagi Nobuo, Sakai Mio, Tsukabe Akio, Yamashita Yuichi, Fujiwara Masahiro, Yamagata Kazuki, Nakamoto Atsushi, Nakanishi Katsuyuki, Tomiyama Noriyuki


Cervical spine, Deep-learning, Diagnostic performance, Fast imaging, Ultrafast MRI