Learning metal artifact reduction in cardiac CT images with moving pacemakers
Metal objects in the human heart such as implanted pacemakers frequently lead to heavy artifacts in reconstructed CT image volumes. Due to cardiac motion, common metal artifact reduction methods which assume a static object during CT acquisition are not applicable. We propose a fully automatic Dynamic Pacemaker Artifact Reduction (DyPAR+) pipeline which is built of three convolutional neural network (CNN) ensembles. In a first step, pacemaker metal shadows are segmented directly in the raw projection data by the SegmentationNets. Second, resulting metal shadow masks are passed to the InpaintingNets which replace metal-affected line integrals in the sinogram for subsequent reconstruction of a metal-free image volume. Third, the metal locations in a pre-selected motion state are predicted by the ReinsertionNets based on a stack of partial angle back-projections generated from the segmented metal shadow mask. We generate the data required for the supervised learning processes by introducing synthetic, moving pacemaker leads into 14 clinical cases without pacemakers. The SegmentationNets and the ReinsertionNets achieve average Dice coefficients of 94.16% ± 2.01% and 55.60% ± 4.79% during testing on clinical data with synthetic metal leads. With a mean absolute reconstruction error of 11.54 HU ± 2.49 HU in the image domain, the InpaintingNets outperform the hand-crafted approaches PatchMatch and inverse distance weighting. Application of the proposed DyPAR+ pipeline to nine clinical test cases with real pacemakers leads to significant reduction of metal artifacts and demonstrates the transferability to clinical practice. Especially the SegmentationNets and InpaintingNets generalize well to unseen acquisition modes and contrast protocols.
Convolutional neural network
Metal artifact reduction