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In European radiology ; h5-index 62.0

OBJECTIVES : To compare image quality between a deep learning image reconstruction (DLIR) algorithm and conventional iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithms in dual-energy CT (DECT) and to assess the impact of these algorithms on radiomics robustness.

METHODS : A phantom with clinical-relevant densities was imaged on seven DECT scanners with the same voxel size using typical abdominal-pelvis examination protocols. On one DECT scanner, raw data were reconstructed using both conventional IR (adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction-V, ASIR-V) and DLIR. Nine sets of corresponding images were generated on other six DECT scanners using scanner-equipped conventional IR. Regions of interest were delineated through rigid registrations. Image quality was compared. Pyradiomics platform was used for radiomics feature extraction. Test-retest repeatability was assessed by Bland-Altman analysis for repeated scans. Inter-reconstruction algorithm reproducibility between conventional IR and DLIR was tested by intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and concordance correlation coefficient (CCC). Inter-scanner reproducibility was evaluated by coefficient of variation (CV) and quartile coefficient of dispersion (QCD). Robust features were identified.

RESULTS : DLIR significantly improved image quality. Ninety-four radiomics features were extracted and nine features were considered as robust. 93.87% features were repeatable between repeated scans. ASIR-V images showed higher reproducibility to other conventional IR than DLIR (ICC mean, 0.603 vs 0.558, p = 0.001; CCC mean, 0.554 vs 0.510, p = 0.004). 7.45% and 26.83% features were reproducible among scanners evaluated by CV and QCD, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS : DLIR improves quality of DECT images but may alter radiomics features compared to conventional IR. Nine robust DECT radiomics features were identified.

KEY POINTS : • DLIR improves DECT image quality in terms of signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratio compared with ASIR-V and showed the highest noise reduction rate and lowest peak frequency shift. • Most of radiomics features are repeatable between repeated DECT scans, while inter-reconstruction algorithm reproducibility between conventional IR and DLIR, and inter-scanner reproducibility, are low. • Although DLIR may alter radiomics features compared to IR algorithms, nine radiomics features survived repeatability and reproducibility analysis among DECT scanners and reconstruction algorithms, which allows further validation and clinical-relevant analysis.

Zhong Jingyu, Xia Yihan, Chen Yong, Li Jianying, Lu Wei, Shi Xiaomeng, Feng Jianxing, Yan Fuhua, Yao Weiwu, Zhang Huan


Deep learning, Image enhancement, Image reconstruction, Multidetector computed tomography, Reproducibility of results