ARU-GAN: U-shaped GAN based on Attention and Residual connection for super-resolution reconstruction

Computers in biology and medicine(2023)

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Plane-wave ultrasound imaging technology offers high-speed imaging but lacks image quality. To improve the image spatial resolution, beam synthesis methods are used, which often compromise the temporal resolution. Herein, we propose ARU-GAN, a super-resolution reconstruction model based on residual connectivity and attention mechanisms, to address this issue. ARU-GAN comprises a Full-scale Skip-connection U-shaped Generator (FSUG) with an attention mechanism and a Residual Attention Patch Discriminator (RAPD). The former captures global and local features of the image by using full-scale skip-connections and attention mechanisms. The latter focuses on changes in the image at different scales to enhance its discriminative ability at the patch level. ARU-GAN was trained using a combined loss function on the Plane-Wave Imaging Challenge in Medical Ultrasound (PICMUS) 2016 dataset, which includes three types of targets: point targets, cyst targets, and in-vivo targets. Compared to Coherent Plane-Wave Compounding (CPWC), ARU-GAN achieved a reduction in Full Width at Half Maximum (FWHM) by 5.78%-20.30% on point targets, improved Contrast (CR) by 7.59-11.29 percentage points, and Contrast to Noise Ratio (CNR) by 30.58%-45.22% on cyst targets. On in-vivo target, ARU-GAN improved the Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) by 11.94%, the Complex-Wavelet Structural Similarity Index Measurement (CW-SSIM) by 17.11%, and the Normalized Cross Correlation (NCC) by at least 2.17% compared to existing deep learning methods. In conclusion, ARU-GAN is a promising model for the super-resolution reconstruction of plane-wave medical ultrasound images. It provides a novel solution for improving image quality, which is essential for clinical practice.
Plane-wave ultrasound image,Generative adversarial network,Super-resolution reconstruction,Pixel attention,Minus attention
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