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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2011 Apr;38(4):702-10. doi: 10.1007/s00259-010-1681-0. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

A novel computer-assisted image analysis of [123I]β-CIT SPECT images improves the diagnostic accuracy of parkinsonian disorders.

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Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Schöpfstrasse 41/2, A-6020, Innsbruck, Austria.



The purpose of this study was to develop an observer-independent algorithm for the correct classification of dopamine transporter SPECT images as Parkinson's disease (PD), multiple system atrophy parkinson variant (MSA-P), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) or normal.


A total of 60 subjects with clinically probable PD (n = 15), MSA-P (n = 15) and PSP (n = 15), and 15 age-matched healthy volunteers, were studied with the dopamine transporter ligand [(123)I]β-CIT. Parametric images of the specific-to-nondisplaceable equilibrium partition coefficient (BP(ND)) were generated. Following a voxel-wise ANOVA, cut-off values were calculated from the voxel values of the resulting six post-hoc t-test maps. The percentages of the volume of an individual BP(ND) image remaining below and above the cut-off values were determined. The higher percentage of image volume from all six cut-off matrices was used to classify an individual's image. For validation, the algorithm was compared to a conventional region of interest analysis.


The predictive diagnostic accuracy of the algorithm in the correct assignment of a [(123)I]β-CIT SPECT image was 83.3% and increased to 93.3% on merging the MSA-P and PSP groups. In contrast the multinomial logistic regression of mean region of interest values of the caudate, putamen and midbrain revealed a diagnostic accuracy of 71.7%.


In contrast to a rater-driven approach, this novel method was superior in classifying [(123)I]β-CIT-SPECT images as one of four diagnostic entities. In combination with the investigator-driven visual assessment of SPECT images, this clinical decision support tool would help to improve the diagnostic yield of [(123)I]β-CIT SPECT in patients presenting with parkinsonism at their initial visit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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