Background and Purpose - To provide further insight into the MRI assessment of age-related white matter changes (ARWMCs) with visual rating scales, 3 raters with different levels of experience tested the interrater agreement and comparability of 3 widely used rating scales in a cross-sectional and follow-up setting. Furthermore, the correlation between visual ratings and quantitative volumetric measurement was assessed. Methods - Three raters from different sites using 3 established rating scales (Manolio, Fazekas and Schmidt, Scheltens) evaluated 74 baseline and follow-up scans from 5 European centers. One investigator also rated baseline scans in a set of 255 participants of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study (ASPS) and measured the volume of ARWMCs. Results - The interrater agreement for the baseline investigation was fair to good for all scales (K values, 0.59 to 0.78). On the follow-up scans, all 3 raters depicted significant ARWMC progression; however, the direct interrater agreement for this task was poor (κ, 0.19 to 0.39). Comparison of the interrater reliability between the 3 scales revealed a statistical significant difference between the scale of Manolio and that of Fazekas and Schmidt for the baseline investigation (z value, -2.9676; P=0.003), demonstrating better interrater agreement for the Fazekas and Schmidt scale. The rating results obtained with all 3 scales were highly correlated with each other (Spearman rank correlation, 0.712 to 0.806; P≤0.01), and there was significant agreement between all 3 visual rating scales and the quantitative volumetric measurement of ARWMC (Kendall W, 0.37, 0.48, and 0.57; P<0.001). Conclusions - Our data demonstrate that the 3 rating scales studied reflect the actual volume of ARWMCs well. The 2 scales that provide more detailed information on ARWMCs seemed preferential compared with the 1 that yields more global information. The visual assessment of ARWMC progression remains problematic and may require modifications or extensions of existing rating scales.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2003|