Automated quantitative MRI volumetry reports support diagnostic interpretation in dementia: a multi-rater, clinical accuracy study

Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: We examined whether providing a quantitative report (QReport) of regional brain volumes improves radiologists’ accuracy and confidence in detecting volume loss, and in differentiating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), compared with visual assessment alone. Methods: Our forced-choice multi-rater clinical accuracy study used MRI from 16 AD patients, 14 FTD patients, and 15 healthy controls; age range 52–81. Our QReport was presented to raters with regional grey matter volumes plotted as percentiles against data from a normative population (n = 461). Nine raters with varying radiological experience (3 each: consultants, registrars, ‘non-clinical image analysts’) assessed each case twice (with and without the QReport). Raters were blinded to clinical and demographic information; they classified scans as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ and if ‘abnormal’ as ‘AD’ or ‘FTD’. Results: The QReport improved sensitivity for detecting volume loss and AD across all raters combined (p = 0.015* and p = 0.002*, respectively). Only the consultant group’s accuracy increased significantly when using the QReport (p = 0.02*). Overall, raters’ agreement (Cohen’s κ) with the ‘gold standard’ was not significantly affected by the QReport; only the consultant group improved significantly (κs 0.41➔0.55, p = 0.04*). Cronbach’s alpha for interrater agreement improved from 0.886 to 0.925, corresponding to an improvement from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’. Conclusion: Our QReport referencing single-subject results to normative data alongside visual assessment improved sensitivity, accuracy, and interrater agreement for detecting volume loss. The QReport was most effective in the consultants, suggesting that experience is needed to fully benefit from the additional information provided by quantitative analyses. Key Points: • The use of quantitative report alongside routine visual MRI assessment improves sensitivity and accuracy for detecting volume loss and AD vs visual assessment alone. • Consultant neuroradiologists’ assessment accuracy and agreement (kappa scores) significantly improved with the use of quantitative atrophy reports. • First multi-rater radiological clinical evaluation of visual quantitative MRI atrophy report for use as a diagnostic aid in dementia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Radiology
Early online date2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Cite this