Fully automated image quality evaluation on patient CT: Multi-vendor and multireconstruction study

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Chun, Minsoo; Choi, Jin Hwa; Kim, Sihwan; Ahn, Chulkyun; Kim, Jong Hyo

Issue Date
Public Library of Science
PLoS ONE, Vol.17 No.7 July
© 2022 Chun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.While the recent advancements of computed tomography (CT) technology have contributed in reducing radiation dose and image noise, an objective evaluation of image quality in patient scans has not yet been established. In this study, we present a patientspecific CT image quality evaluation method that includes fully automated measurements of noise level, structure sharpness, and alteration of structure. This study used the CT images of 120 patients from four different CT scanners reconstructed with three types of algorithm: filtered back projection (FBP), vendor-specific iterative reconstruction (IR), and a vendor-agnostic deep learning model (DLM, ClariCT.AI, ClariPi Inc.). The structure coherence feature (SCF) was used to divide an image into the homogeneous (RH) and structure edge (RS) regions, which in turn were used to localize the regions of interests (ROIs) for subsequent analysis of image quality indices. The noise level was calculated by averaging the standard deviations from five randomly selected ROIs on RH, and the mean SCFs on RS was used to estimate the structure sharpness. The structure alteration was defined by the standard deviation ratio between RS and RH on the subtraction image between FBP and IR or DLM, in which lower structure alterations indicate successful noise reduction without degradation of structure details. The estimated structure sharpness showed a high correlation of 0.793 with manually measured edge slopes. Compared to FBP, IR and DLM showed 34.38% and 51.30% noise reduction, 2.87% and 0.59% lower structure sharpness, and 2.20% and -12.03% structure alteration, respectively, on an average. DLM showed statistically superior performance to IR in all three image quality metrics. This study is expected to contribute to enhance the CT protocol optimization process by allowing a high throughput and quantitative image quality evaluation during the introduction or adjustment of lowerdose CT protocol into routine practice.
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Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology (융합과학기술대학원)Dept. of Applied Bioengineering (응용바이오공학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_응용바이오공학과)
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