Active Phase-Encode Selection for Slice-Specific Fast MR Scanning Using a Transformer-Based Deep Reinforcement Learning Framework
Purpose: Long scan time in phase encoding for forming complete K-space matrices is a critical drawback of MRI, making patients uncomfortable and wasting important time for diagnosing emergent diseases. This paper aims to reducing the scan time by actively and sequentially selecting partial phases in a short time so that a slice can be accurately reconstructed from the resultant slice-specific incomplete K-space matrix. Methods: A transformer based deep reinforcement learning framework is
... d for actively determining a sequence of partial phases according to reconstruction-quality based Q-value (a function of reward), where the reward is the improvement degree of reconstructed image quality. The Q-value is efficiently predicted from binary phase-indicator vectors, incomplete K-space matrices and their corresponding undersampled images with a light-weight transformer so that the sequential information of phases and global relationship in images can be used. The inverse Fourier transform is employed for efficiently computing the undersampled images and hence gaining the rewards of selecting phases. Results: Experimental results on the fastMRI dataset with original K-space data accessible demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy superiorities of proposed method. Compared with the state-of-the-art reinforcement learning based method proposed by Pineda et al., the proposed method is roughly 150 times faster and achieves significant improvement in reconstruction accuracy. Conclusions: We have proposed a light-weight transformer based deep reinforcement learning framework for generating high-quality slice-specific trajectory consisting of a small number of phases. The proposed method, called TITLE (Transformer Involved Trajectory LEarning), has remarkable superiority in phase-encode selection efficiency and image reconstruction accuracy.