Deep-learning based super-resolution for 3D isotropic coronary MR angiography in less than a minute
To develop and evaluate a novel and generalizable super-resolution (SR) deep-learning framework for motion-compensated isotropic 3D coronary MR angiography (CMRA), which allows free-breathing acquisitions in less than a minute.
Undersampled motion-corrected reconstructions have enabled free-breathing isotropic 3D CMRA in ~5-10 min acquisition times. In this work, we propose a deep-learning–based SR framework, combined with non-rigid respiratory motion compensation, to shorten the acquisition time to less than 1 min. A generative adversarial network (GAN) is proposed consisting of two cascaded Enhanced Deep Residual Network generator, a trainable discriminator, and a perceptual loss network. A 16-fold increase in spatial resolution is achieved by reconstructing a high-resolution (HR) isotropic CMRA (0.9 mm3 or 1.2 mm3) from a low-resolution (LR) anisotropic CMRA (0.9 × 3.6 × 3.6 mm3 or 1.2 × 4.8 × 4.8 mm3). The impact and generalization of the proposed SRGAN approach to different input resolutions and operation on image and patch-level is investigated. SRGAN was evaluated on a retrospective downsampled cohort of 50 patients and on 16 prospective patients that were scanned with LR-CMRA in ~50 s under free-breathing. Vessel sharpness and length of the coronary arteries from the SR-CMRA is compared against the HR-CMRA.
SR-CMRA showed statistically significant (P < .001) improved vessel sharpness 34.1% ± 12.3% and length 41.5% ± 8.1% compared with LR-CMRA. Good generalization to input resolution and image/patch-level processing was found. SR-CMRA enabled recovery of coronary stenosis similar to HR-CMRA with comparable qualitative performance.
The proposed SR-CMRA provides a 16-fold increase in spatial resolution with comparable image quality to HR-CMRA while reducing the predictable scan time to <1 min.