In large population studies such as the UK Biobank (UKBB), quality control of the acquired images by visual assessment is unfeasible. In this paper, we apply a recently developed fully-automated quality control pipeline for cardiac MR (CMR) images to the first 19,265 short-axis (SA) cine stacks from the UKBB. We present the results for the three estimated quality metrics (heart coverage, inter-slice motion and image contrast in the cardiac region) as well as their potential associations with factors including acquisition details and subject-related phenotypes. Up to 14.2% of the analysed SA stacks had sub-optimal coverage (i.e. missing basal and/or apical slices), however most of them were limited to the first year of acquisition. Up to 16% of the stacks were affected by noticeable inter-slice motion (i.e. average inter-slice misalignment greater than 3.4 mm). Inter-slice motion was positively correlated with weight and body surface area. Only 2.1% of the stacks had an average end-diastolic cardiac image contrast below 30% of the dynamic range. These findings will be highly valuable for both the scientists involved in UKBB CMR acquisition and for the ones who use the dataset for research purposes.
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