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Interobserver agreement and diagnostic accuracy of brain magnetic resonance imaging in dogs

Mylène-Kim LeclercDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Marc-André d'AnjouDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Laurent BlondDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Éric Norman CarmelDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Ruth DennisThe Animal Health Trust, Landwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, England.

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Susan L. KraftDepartment of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Andrea R. MatthewsDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.

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Joane M. ParentDépartement de sciences cliniques, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC J2S 7C6, Canada.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate interobserver agreement and diagnostic accuracy of brain MRI in dogs.

Design—Evaluation study.

Animals—44 dogs.

Procedures—5 board-certified veterinary radiologists with variable MRI experience interpreted transverse T2-weighted (T2w), T2w fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), and T1-weighted-FLAIR; transverse, sagittal, and dorsal T2w; and T1-weighted-FLAIR postcontrast brain sequences (1.5 T). Several imaging parameters were scored, including the following: lesion (present or absent), lesion characteristics (axial localization, mass effect, edema, hemorrhage, and cavitation), contrast enhancement characteristics, and most likely diagnosis (normal, neoplastic, inflammatory, vascular, metabolic or toxic, or other). Magnetic resonance imaging diagnoses were determined initially without patient information and then repeated, providing history and signalment. For all cases and readers, MRI diagnoses were compared with final diagnoses established with results from histologic examination (when available) or with other pertinent clinical data (CSF analysis, clinical response to treatment, or MRI follow-up). Magnetic resonance scores were compared between examiners with κ statistics.

Results—Reading agreement was substantial to almost perfect (0.64 < κ < 0.86) when identifying a brain lesion on MRI; fair to moderate (0.14 < κ < 0.60) when interpreting hemorrhage, edema, and pattern of contrast enhancement; fair to substantial (0.22 < κ < 0.74) for dural tail sign and categorization of margins of enhancement; and moderate to substantial (0.40 < κ < 0.78) for axial localization, presence of mass effect, cavitation, intensity, and distribution of enhancement. Interobserver agreement was moderate to substantial for categories of diagnosis (0.56 < κ < 0.69), and agreement with the final diagnosis was substantial regardless of whether patient information was (0.65 < κ < 0.76) or was not (0.65 < κ < 0.68) provided.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The present study found that whereas some MRI features such as edema and hemorrhage were interpreted less consistently, radiologists were reasonably constant and accurate when providing diagnoses.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate interobserver agreement and diagnostic accuracy of brain MRI in dogs.

Design—Evaluation study.

Animals—44 dogs.

Procedures—5 board-certified veterinary radiologists with variable MRI experience interpreted transverse T2-weighted (T2w), T2w fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), and T1-weighted-FLAIR; transverse, sagittal, and dorsal T2w; and T1-weighted-FLAIR postcontrast brain sequences (1.5 T). Several imaging parameters were scored, including the following: lesion (present or absent), lesion characteristics (axial localization, mass effect, edema, hemorrhage, and cavitation), contrast enhancement characteristics, and most likely diagnosis (normal, neoplastic, inflammatory, vascular, metabolic or toxic, or other). Magnetic resonance imaging diagnoses were determined initially without patient information and then repeated, providing history and signalment. For all cases and readers, MRI diagnoses were compared with final diagnoses established with results from histologic examination (when available) or with other pertinent clinical data (CSF analysis, clinical response to treatment, or MRI follow-up). Magnetic resonance scores were compared between examiners with κ statistics.

Results—Reading agreement was substantial to almost perfect (0.64 < κ < 0.86) when identifying a brain lesion on MRI; fair to moderate (0.14 < κ < 0.60) when interpreting hemorrhage, edema, and pattern of contrast enhancement; fair to substantial (0.22 < κ < 0.74) for dural tail sign and categorization of margins of enhancement; and moderate to substantial (0.40 < κ < 0.78) for axial localization, presence of mass effect, cavitation, intensity, and distribution of enhancement. Interobserver agreement was moderate to substantial for categories of diagnosis (0.56 < κ < 0.69), and agreement with the final diagnosis was substantial regardless of whether patient information was (0.65 < κ < 0.76) or was not (0.65 < κ < 0.68) provided.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The present study found that whereas some MRI features such as edema and hemorrhage were interpreted less consistently, radiologists were reasonably constant and accurate when providing diagnoses.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Leclerc's present address is Hôpital Vétérinaire Rive Sud, 7415, Taschereau Ouest, Brossard, QC J4Y 1A2, Canada.

This study was performed at the Centre hospitalier universitaire vétérinaire, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada.

Presented in part as an abstract at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Anaheim, Calif, June 2010.

The authors thank Guy Beauchamp for statistical analysis.

Address correspondence to Dr. Leclerc (mylene-kim.leclerc@hvrs.com).