Korean J Radiol.  2022 Apr;23(4):402-412. 10.3348/kjr.2021.0683.

Image Quality and Lesion Detectability of Lower-Dose Abdominopelvic CT Obtained Using Deep Learning Image Reconstruction

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Radiology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Biostatistics Collaboration Unit, Department of Biomedical Systems Informatics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


To evaluate the image quality and lesion detectability of lower-dose CT (LDCT) of the abdomen and pelvis obtained using a deep learning image reconstruction (DLIR) algorithm compared with those of standard-dose CT (SDCT) images.
Materials and Methods
This retrospective study included 123 patients (mean age ± standard deviation, 63 ± 11 years; male:female, 70:53) who underwent contrast-enhanced abdominopelvic LDCT between May and August 2020 and had prior SDCT obtained using the same CT scanner within a year. LDCT images were reconstructed with hybrid iterative reconstruction (h-IR) and DLIR at medium and high strengths (DLIR-M and DLIR-H), while SDCT images were reconstructed with h-IR. For quantitative image quality analysis, image noise, signal-to-noise ratio, and contrast-to-noise ratio were measured in the liver, muscle, and aorta. Among the three different LDCT reconstruction algorithms, the one showing the smallest difference in quantitative parameters from those of SDCT images was selected for qualitative image quality analysis and lesion detectability evaluation. For qualitative analysis, overall image quality, image noise, image sharpness, image texture, and lesion conspicuity were graded using a 5-point scale by two radiologists. Observer performance in focal liver lesion detection was evaluated by comparing the jackknife free-response receiver operating characteristic figures-of-merit (FOM).
LDCT (35.1% dose reduction compared with SDCT) images obtained using DLIR-M showed similar quantitative measures to those of SDCT with h-IR images. All qualitative parameters of LDCT with DLIR-M images but image texture were similar to or significantly better than those of SDCT with h-IR images. The lesion detectability on LDCT with DLIR-M images was not significantly different from that of SDCT with h-IR images (reader-averaged FOM, 0.887 vs. 0.874, respectively; p = 0.581).
Overall image quality and detectability of focal liver lesions is preserved in contrast-enhanced abdominopelvic LDCT obtained with DLIR-M relative to those in SDCT with h-IR.


Computed tomography; Image reconstruction; Deep learning; Radiation dose; Abdomen
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