SANTIS: Sampling-Augmented Neural neTwork with Incoherent Structure for MR image reconstruction

Magn Reson Med. 2019 Nov;82(5):1890-1904. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27827. Epub 2019 Jun 5.


Purpose: To develop and evaluate a novel deep learning-based reconstruction framework called SANTIS (Sampling-Augmented Neural neTwork with Incoherent Structure) for efficient MR image reconstruction with improved robustness against sampling pattern discrepancy.

Methods: With a combination of data cycle-consistent adversarial network, end-to-end convolutional neural network mapping, and data fidelity enforcement for reconstructing undersampled MR data, SANTIS additionally utilizes a sampling-augmented training strategy by extensively varying undersampling patterns during training, so that the network is capable of learning various aliasing structures and thereby removing undersampling artifacts more effectively and robustly. The performance of SANTIS was demonstrated for accelerated knee imaging and liver imaging using a Cartesian trajectory and a golden-angle radial trajectory, respectively. Quantitative metrics were used to assess its performance against different references. The feasibility of SANTIS in reconstructing dynamic contrast-enhanced images was also demonstrated using transfer learning.

Results: Compared to conventional reconstruction that exploits image sparsity, SANTIS achieved consistently improved reconstruction performance (lower errors and greater image sharpness). Compared to standard learning-based methods without sampling augmentation (e.g., training with a fixed undersampling pattern), SANTIS provides comparable reconstruction performance, but significantly improved robustness, against sampling pattern discrepancy. SANTIS also achieved encouraging results for reconstructing liver images acquired at different contrast phases.

Conclusion: By extensively varying undersampling patterns, the sampling-augmented training strategy in SANTIS can remove undersampling artifacts more robustly. The novel concept behind SANTIS can particularly be useful for improving the robustness of deep learning-based image reconstruction against discrepancy between training and inference, an important, but currently less explored, topic.

Keywords: data augmentation; data cycle-consistent adversarial network; deep learning; image reconstruction; reconstruction robustness; sampling discrepancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*


  • Contrast Media
  • gadolinium ethoxybenzyl DTPA
  • Gadolinium DTPA