This paper presents an approach to 3-D diffusion tensor image (DTI) reconstruction from multi-slice diffusion weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging acquisitions of the moving fetal brain. Motion scatters the slice measurements in the spatial and spherical diffusion domain with respect to the underlying anatomy. Previous image registration techniques have been described to estimate the between slice fetal head motion, allowing the reconstruction of 3D a diffusion estimate on a regular grid using interpolation. We propose Approach to Unified Diffusion Sensitive Slice Alignment and Reconstruction (AUDiSSAR) that explicitly formulates a process for diffusion direction sensitive DW-slice-to-DTI-volume alignment. This also incorporates image resolution modeling to iteratively deconvolve the effects of the imaging point spread function using the multiple views provided by thick slices acquired in different anatomical planes. The algorithm is implemented using a multi-resolution iterative scheme and multiple real and synthetic data are used to evaluate the performance of the technique. An accuracy experiment using synthetically created motion data of an adult head and an experiment using synthetic motion added to sedated fetal monkey dataset show a significant improvement in motion-trajectory estimation compared to current state-of-the-art approaches. The performance of the method is then evaluated on challenging but clinically typical in utero fetal scans of four different human cases, showing improved rendition of cortical anatomy and extraction of white matter tracts. While the experimental work focuses on DTI reconstruction (second-order tensor model), the proposed reconstruction framework can employ any 5-D diffusion volume model that can be represented by the spatial parameterizations of an orientation distribution function.
I E E E Transactions on Medical Imaging, 2014, Vol 33, Issue 2, p. 272-289