Assessment of data consistency through cascades of independently recurrent inference machines for fast and robust accelerated MRI reconstruction

D. Karkalousos*, S. Noteboom, H. E. Hulst, F. M. Vos, M. W.A. Caan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Objective. Machine Learning methods can learn how to reconstruct magnetic resonance images (MRI) and thereby accelerate acquisition, which is of paramount importance to the clinical workflow. Physics-informed networks incorporate the forward model of accelerated MRI reconstruction in the learning process. With increasing network complexity, robustness is not ensured when reconstructing data unseen during training. We aim to embed data consistency (DC) in deep networks while balancing the degree of network complexity. While doing so, we will assess whether either explicit or implicit enforcement of DC in varying network architectures is preferred to optimize performance. Approach. We propose a scheme called Cascades of Independently Recurrent Inference Machines (CIRIM) to assess DC through unrolled optimization. Herein we assess DC both implicitly by gradient descent and explicitly by a designed term. Extensive comparison of the CIRIM to compressed sensing as well as other Machine Learning methods is performed: the End-to-End Variational Network (E2EVN), CascadeNet, KIKINet, LPDNet, RIM, IRIM, and UNet. Models were trained and evaluated on T1-weighted and FLAIR contrast brain data, and T2-weighted knee data. Both 1D and 2D undersampling patterns were evaluated. Robustness was tested by reconstructing 7.5× prospectively undersampled 3D FLAIR MRI data of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with white matter lesions. Main results. The CIRIM performed best when implicitly enforcing DC, while the E2EVN required an explicit DC formulation. Through its cascades, the CIRIM was able to score higher on structural similarity and PSNR compared to other methods, in particular under heterogeneous imaging conditions. In reconstructing MS patient data, prospectively acquired with a sampling pattern unseen during model training, the CIRIM maintained lesion contrast while efficiently denoising the images. Significance. The CIRIM showed highly promising generalization capabilities maintaining a very fair trade-off between reconstructed image quality and fast reconstruction times, which is crucial in the clinical workflow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124001
Number of pages21
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • compressed sensing
  • data consistency
  • image reconstruction
  • machine learning
  • MRI


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