10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Presented herein is a novel CT denoising method uses a skip residual encoder-decoder framework with group convolutions and a novel loss function to improve the subjective and objective image quality for improved disease detection in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Materials and methods: In this retrospective study, confirmed AIS patients with full-dose NCCT head scans were randomly selected from a stroke registry between 2016 and 2020. 325 patients (67 ± 15 years, 176 men) were included. 18 patients each with 4–7 NCCTs performed within 5-day timeframe (83 total scans) were used for model training; 307 patients each with 1–4 NCCTs performed within 5-day timeframe (380 total scans) were used for hold-out testing. In the training group, a mean CT was created from the patient's co-registered scans for each input CT to train a rotation-reflection equivariant U-Net with skip and residual connections, as well as a group convolutional neural network (SRED-GCNN) using a custom loss function to remove image noise. Denoising performance was compared to the standard Block-matching and 3D filtering (BM3D) method and RED-CNN quantitatively and visually. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise (CNR) were measured in manually drawn regions-of-interest in grey matter (GM), white matter (WM) and deep grey matter (DG). Visual comparison and impact on spatial resolution were assessed through phantom images. Results: SRED-GCNN reduced the original CT image noise significantly better than BM3D, with SNR improvements in GM, WM, and DG by 2.47x, 2.83x, and 2.64x respectively and CNR improvements in DG/WM and GM/WM by 2.30x and 2.16x respectively. Compared to the proposed SRED-GCNN, RED-CNN reduces noise effectively though the results are visibly blurred. Scans denoised by the SRED-GCNN are shown to be visually clearer with preserved anatomy. Conclusion: The proposed SRED-GCNN model significantly reduces image noise and improves signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios in 380 unseen head NCCT cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101996
JournalComputerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • CT denoising
  • Deep learning
  • Non-contrast head CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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