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Image-Based EPI Ghost Correction Using an Algorithm Based on Projection Onto Convex Sets (POCS)
K.J. Lee,1* D.C. Barber,2 M.N. Paley,1 I.D. Wilkinson,1 N.G. Papadakis,3 and P.D. Grifﬁths1
This work describes the use of a method, based on the projection onto convex sets (POCS) algorithm, for reduction of the N/2 ghost in echo-planar imaging (EPI). In this method, ghosts outside the parent image are set to zero and a model k-space is obtained from the Fourier transform (FT) of the resulting image. The zeroth- and ﬁrst-order phase corrections for each line of the original k-space are estimated by comparison with the corresponding line in the model k-space. To overcome problems of phase wrapping, the ﬁrst-order phase corrections for the lines of the original k-space are estimated by registration with the corresponding lines in the model k-space. It is shown that applying these corrections will result in a reduction of the ghost, and that iterating the process will result in a convergence towards an image in which the ghost is minimized. The method is tested on spin-echo EPI data. The results show that the method is robust and remarkably effective, reducing the N/2 ghost to a level nearly comparable to that achieved with reference scans. Magn Reson Med 47:812– 817, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Key words: echo-planar imaging; ghost artifacts; image reconstruction; POCS; magnetic resonance imaging
through iterative searching (6 –10). Searching is computationally expensive, and one group has sought to improve efﬁciency by combining it with reference scans (10). This work describes an image-based method that is different from these approaches. We note that the algorithm is related to the projection onto convex sets (POCS) algorithm used in partial-Fourier image reconstruction (12) and motion correction (13,14). METHODS Outline of Algorithm Let t(x, y) be the N/2-ghosted image with a Fourier transform (FT) T(kx, ky). A 2D region of interest (ROI) is drawn around the parent image, manually or automatically, to deﬁne a mask. The region outside the mask is then set to a value determined by the noise intensity in the image background, thereby constraining the N/2 ghost to zero (in the presence of ghosting, which is present only in the phaseencode direction, the noise can be estimated from unghosted pixels in the frequency-encode direction if the parent is smaller than the FOV). Let the FT of this new image be T (kx, ky). This is then used as the model k-space. The assumption in a POCS algorithm is that the translational shift correction (ky), and zeroth-order (constant) phase correction (ky), of each line in the original k-space T(kx, ky) can be obtained by comparing this line with the corresponding line in the model k-space T (kx, ky) (14). Let g(x, ky) and g (x, ky) be the 1D inverse Fourier transform (IFT) of a line ky in T(kx, ky) and T (kx, ky), respectively. Then, by the Fourier shift theorem, the translational shift in the kx domain becomes a ﬁrst-order (linear) phase shift in the x domain, and the 1D IFTs are related by the equation: g x, k y g x, k y exp j x, ky g x, ky exp j2 x 
A common artifact in echo-planar imaging (EPI) is the “N/2” ghost, so called because the ghost is shifted by half the ﬁeld of view (FOV) from the parent image in the phase-encode direction. The ghost occurs because in EPI, data are read sequentially under an alternating positive/ negative readout gradient. The lines in k-space are ﬁlled in a zigzag fashion, from left to right for one line, right to left for the next, and so on. Unfortunately, hardware imperfections, for example the presence of eddy currents, can cause a systematic misalignment and phase variation between odd and even echoes, which in turn give rise to the N/2 ghost after Fourier transformation (1). For ghost reduction these misalignments and phase variations need to be determined. To date, numerous methods have been developed to correct the ghosting, which can be divided into two groups: image-based methods (2–10), and those using reference or calibration scans (2,11). The image-based methods can be further divided into methods that require separate reconstruction of odd and even lines of k-space (2–5), and those that seek to minimize a metric of image ghosting
Department of Academic Radiology, University of Shefﬁeld, Shefﬁeld, UK. Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Shefﬁeld, UK. 3 Department of Psychiatry, Longley Center, University of Shefﬁeld, Shefﬁeld, UK. *Correspondence to: K.J. Lee, Department of Academic Radiology, C Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Shefﬁeld S10 2JF, South Yorkshire, UK. E-mail: k.j.lee@shefﬁeld.ac.uk Received 20 July 2001; revised 3 October 2001; accepted 15 November 2001.
where (x, ky) is the phase difference between g(x, ky) and g (x, ky). As the last part of Eq.  suggests, the phase (x, ky) is here approximated as a linear function of x. In reality, (x, ky) may contain higher-order terms, the correction of which is beyond the scope of the present work. A direct way of determining (ky) and (ky) is to perform a linear ﬁt of (x, ky) relative to x. The slope and intercept of the resulting ﬁt give (ky) and (ky), respectively. However, in practice, ﬁtting is made difﬁcult by regions of low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) causing discontinuities in phase unwrapping, which is required for the calculation of (x, ky). Fortunately, we can avoid this complication by separating out the linear phase shift from the constant
© 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
(ky) should then be determined correctly by a higher-order ﬁt through shifted(x. 0) is a single line and is therefore a delta function in the v-direction. y) consists of N identical rows of q(x). u.. y e x 0 y 0 2 j ux N . v F u. ky). therefore.  Equation  says that the inverse FT of F–(u. so: N b N a F u. ky) and the intercept found. v x 0 y 0 f x. y e x 0 y 0 2 j ux N . b) and does not extend outside these limits. The error in the measurement of (ky) and (ky) will depend on the SNR of the line under consideration in T(kx. The summation over the second term is affected since p(x. v F u. That is. However.  Let us remove a row in the transform. allowing (ky) to be determined as a translational shift by registering the magnitude of each line in T(kx. v) are integer values. v F u. 1. Let the N N ghost-free parent image f(x. If (x. y) having a ghost p(x. but in the presence of higher-order phase shifts only the intercept. ky). ky). ky) calculated over a few points around the origin. i. y e . i. y) does. which we call the model k-space. v x 0 y a f x. but will . Let the 1D IFT of a line ky in Tshifted(kx. ky) and T (kx. then the resulting FT is: F u. analysis of the simplest case of a single k-space line being set to zero can be instructive and will illustrate the main features of the method. x 0. 0 . p(x. We now selectively mask the ghosted image by including only image intensity for a y b. v x 0 y 0 f x. ky). ky). v F u. ky) to the corresponding line in T (kx. A diagram illustrating the steps of the algorithm is shown in Fig. we make a ﬁrst approximation that all odd lines will share the same odd. y e 2 j ux vy N N 1 b p x. The shape and phase of the function generated by summing the second term will not change (it will be the same as F(u. kodd and keven. ky). y) be a complex intensity image with non-zero values in the y-direction limited to the range (a. y) is bounded by upper and lower limits (a. the translational shift correction removes only the linear dependence in shifted(x. y) will be such that: N 1 N 1 p x. b) where a 0 and b N – 1. the mean of shifted(x.  as: N 1 N 1 F u. being the FT of a delta function. and that selective masking will allow the missing line to be restored. In the ﬁrst instance let this be the line 0. If the system is reasonably stable. uniform in the y-direction over the full range 0 to N – 1.0)) but the amplitude will be reduced by (b – a)/N. The measured shifts are then applied to T(kx. gives a function p(x. ky). odd (even). as a ﬁrst step we consider only the central odd and even lines in T(kx. giving Tshifted(kx. odd (and similarly for even lines). ky) and g (x.  Note that F(u. If there are no higher-order phase corrections. Away from ky 0 the SNR is drastically reduced. 0 . shifted(x.e. y.  The summation in the y-direction over the ﬁrst term on the RHS is unaffected by this masking operation since values of f(x.e. If we remove this line by setting it to zero. ky).  In the y-direction the image f(x. y) superimposed upon it. but the ghost p(x. is the zerothorder phase offset. which we can use for the measurement of odd (even). y e x 0 y a 2 j ux N . v x 0 y 0 f x. y e 2 j ux vy N N 1 N 1 f x. y e 2 j ux vy N N 1 N 1 p x. However. we can determine (ky) as the mean of shifted(x. a function of x only. THEORY It is beyond the scope of this work to discuss the full mathematical treatment of POCS (15). shifted(0. will not be zero. However. ky).  The second term. ky) and the remaining phase difference between gshifted(x. should provide a very close approximation of (ky). even though it was initially set to zero. The FT of the masked image is (note the new limits a and b in the y-direction): N 1 b F u. ky). Expanding this gives: The row v 0 in F . ky) be gshifted(x.. if the higher-order terms are sufﬁciently small. y y 0 Nq x y 0 f x.Image-Based EPI Ghost Correction With POCS 813 N 1 N 1 phase shift by taking the magnitudes of the k-space lines in T(kx. y) outside the bounds are zero. v) with the row v 0 set to zero results in the original image f(x. and covers the entire FOV. The analysis will show that removal of a line will cause ghosting (though not a N/2 ghost). b). y . Zeroth-order phase differences disappear when this is done. ky) should have only small values and be free from problems of phase wrapping. The intensity of p(x. ky) be shifted(x. the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) of f(x.  F u. y). y) is: N 1 N 1 2 j ux vy N F u. These will have the highest signal. Thus we can rewrite Eq. y) extends beyond the range (a.
FT inverse Fourier transform.0) in the original transform was one that had been corrupted by a translational shift and constant phase offset. This analysis demonstrates that for the simplest case of k-space perturbation causing a ghosted image. FIG.0). then the corrections can be determined by comparison of this corrupted row. selective masking has enabled the row F (u. and FOV 24 cm.e. After correcting for the shift. IFT contain a copy of the true F(u. 1. The large box indicates the processes to be iterated until convergence.0). derived from the values of p(x.0) and F (u. that is if the parent image f(x.814 Lee et al.. Ohio).0) . and then masking the ghosted image over the extent of the parent. the amount of shift can be obtained by registration of the magnitude Fs(u. the constant phase offset can then be obtained as the residual phase difference between Fs(u. that of a single known line. Schematic of the algorithm.5T MR system (Eclipse. Equation  also makes it clear that the method will fail in the limit that b – a N. echo time (TE) 72 ms. slice thickness 5 mm.0). i. i. scaled in amplitude.0) with the magnitude F (u. A spin-echo EPI sequence was used to acquire 21 slices covering the whole brain with the following parameters: repetition time (TR) 5000 ms. which we call Fs(u. If the zeroed row F(u. Fourier transform. y) within the mask. we can correct the perturbed k-space signal by ﬁrst setting the k-space line to zero. For example.. with the row F (u.0) to be nonzero.e. The raw data were rebinned into . Experiments Human data were acquired on an 1. Marconi Medical Systems.0). y) or the mask ﬁlls the FOV.
1 pixels and 0. kodd.even) . Mean values SD for the phase corrections were as follows: odd – 0. After applying the translational corrections. This was to investigate whether the data would subsequently diverge or converge to another. (d–f) slice 11.even) were calculated and the intercepts taken to be the mean of the middle 10 points. and (g–i) slice 21..5 1.1 pixels.2.5 0. 0. even 0.even. POCScorrected. The % ghosting in a slice was deﬁned as: % ghosting sum of pixel values in ghost sum of pixel values in parent image 100.07 radians. 2. For comparison. with uncorrected. and reference-scan-corrected images from left to right. respectively.05 radians. by relaxing the constraint that all odd and even lines should have the same odd. the two central k-space lines with highest intensity in each slice were determined: kodd and keven. Because of SNR considerations (described above). and imported into MATLAB (The Mathworks.4. solution.1 pixel in k-space (using Fourier interpolation). The mean number of iterations required was 4 (range: 3– 6).9 0.72 odd 0. and even – 0.even.6 0. The algorithm described above was then applied on each slice until convergence was reached. and reference-scan-corrected slices were: 52 11. 2. odd. i. kodd. possibly improved. Inc.even) and T (kx. a 128 128 matrix.e. RESULTS The algorithm converged successfully in all slices.). . After convergence was achieved. the images were also corrected with a reference scan (acquired with the phase-encoding gradient set to 0). shifted(x. using the scanner’s on-line correction software. and 0. with a resolution of 0.01 radians. to test the stability of the method the algorithm was allowed to run further but was modiﬁed to allow each k-space line to have its own value of (ky) and (ky). kodd.1 pixels. (a– c) Slice 3. deﬁned as when 0. The process was iterated until convergence was reached.Image-Based EPI Ghost Correction With POCS 815 FIG. transferred to a PC.55 0. The translational shifts were calculated by correlation between T(kx. POCS-corrected.  The mean % ghosting SD for the uncorrected.
with uncorrected. In the future. Image-based ghost correction for interleaved EPI. Manduca A. will be the subject of further research. we hope to investigate the effectiveness of this algorithm in correcting for higher-order phase errors by including higher-order terms in (x.23:311–323. Foxall DL. 6. with display levels changed to emphasize ghosting. In: Schmitt F. The zeroth-order phase correction is then just the remaining phase difference between the original k-space lines and the corresponding lines in model k-space. Image metric-based correction (autocorrection) of motion effects: analysis of image metrics. These lines have too little signal to be registered accurately. Felmlee JP. Image reconstruction for echo planar imaging with nonequidistant k-space sampling. Riederer SJ. The ﬁrst-order phase correction is calculated by registration of k-space lines in the original image with those of the model k-space. Turner R. and Fig. Essentially. Figure 4a shows slice 7 after convergence with the constraint applied. ky).38:89 –100. The algorithm is simple to implement. Echo-planar imaging image artifacts. Magn Reson Med 1997. Inspection revealed that lines with low SNR away from the center of k-space could not be registered correctly. Gao L. our results also show that the method has some limitations. 4. . The method was successful only if all odd lines were constrained to share the same phase correction (and similarly for even lines). 2. causing an irrecoverable degradation in image quality that affected all other lines. Magn Reson Med 1992.45:96 –108. The distortions seen in slice 21 are due to susceptibility artifacts and are unrelated to the corrections.even and odd. In general. Currently we have modeled the phase corrections with two terms. Figure 2 shows: (a– c) slice 3. 7. Reinfelder HE. Schmitt F. caused the algorithm to diverge. editors. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. and referencescan-corrected images from left to right. this is the ﬁrst description and demonstration of the use of POCS to correct for the N/2 ghost in EPI. and (g–i) slice 21.11:174 –181. and (b) reference-scan corrected. a: Slice 7 after convergence with constraint. Ehman RL. Figure 3 shows the corrected images of slice 11. Figure 2e shows that the POCS algorithm achieves good ghost reduction even where ghost and parent image overlap signiﬁcantly. 3. nevertheless. However. or calibration scans (2. We have shown that the procedure is also capable of correcting the zeroth. Our results show that the method is robust. Echo-planar imaging. Fischer H. calculate the FT of the resulting image. FIG. Stehling MK. Magn Reson Med 2001. Bruder H. Harvey PR. J Magn Reson 1998. DISCUSSION To the best of our knowledge. 4. Buonocore MH. REFERENCES 1. 1998. Slice 11 with display levels changed to emphasize ghosting: (a) POCS corrected.and ﬁrst-order phase shifts in the N/2 ghost. p 179 –200. The resulting images show excellent reduction of the N/2 ghost.816 Lee et al.11). Figure 2h shows that the algorithm is sufﬁciently robust to correct for ghosts even in the presence of such distortions. McGee KP. Display levels have been altered to emphasize ghosting. Zhu DC. Ladebeck R.even. and the limits to which the constraints can be relaxed. b: Same slice after three further iterations without constraint. (d–f) slice 11. Huang J. Continuing the iterations further. Relaxing this constraint meant that the algorithm diverged unacceptably. Magn Reson Med 1999. Rapid iterative reconstruction for echo planar imaging. Fischer H. A mathematical analysis demonstrated that this can restore the image in the simplest case of a single corrupted k-space line. The method employed here is to set the ghosts to zero outside an ROI drawn around the parent image. Hennel F.42:541–547. the POCS algorithm successfully reduced the N/2 ghost almost to noise level. but with the algorithm modiﬁed to relax the constraint that all odd and even lines should share the same odd. resulting in increased ghosting. Image-based reduction of artifacts in multishot echo-planar imaging. Ghost artifact reduction for echo planar imaging using image phase correction. and converges quickly to a solution even in the presence of severe susceptibility artifacts. after which the constraint may be relaxed to allow only lines of signiﬁcant SNR to be independently corrected. It is likely that the optimum procedure would be to perform a ﬁrst correction with the constraint until convergence. drive each iteration towards convergence. metric-based searching (6 –10). 4b shows the increased ghosting in the image after a further three iterations with the constraint removed. 3. 5. extra information about the absence of ghosts outside the parent image is being used to FIG. if they are wrongly phase-corrected they contribute signiﬁcant errors to the rest of the image. and use it as a model k-space to estimate the phase corrections. Exactly what the threshold SNR should be. J Magn Reson Imaging 2000. and offers an image-based method that does not require separate reconstruction of odd/even data (2–5).134:206 –213. the POCS algorithm was slightly less effective than correction with reference scans. although the values of % ghosting indicate that in these images. POCS-corrected. The problem lies with lines of low SNR away from the center of k-space. a linear and a zeroth-order and . Buonocore MH.
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