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BMC Med Imaging. 2013 Sep 3;13:29. doi: 10.1186/1471-2342-13-29.

Improved operator agreement and efficiency using the minimum area contour change method for delineation of hyperintense multiple sclerosis lesions on FLAIR MRI.

Author information

1
Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA. dswack@buffalo.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Activity of disease in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is monitored by detecting and delineating hyper-intense lesions on MRI scans. The Minimum Area Contour Change (MACC) algorithm has been created with two main goals: a) to improve inter-operator agreement on outlining regions of interest (ROIs) and b) to automatically propagate longitudinal ROIs from the baseline scan to a follow-up scan.

METHODS:

The MACC algorithm first identifies an outer bound for the solution path, forms a high number of iso-contour curves based on equally spaced contour values, and then selects the best contour value to outline the lesion. The MACC software was tested on a set of 17 FLAIR MRI images evaluated by a pair of human experts and a longitudinal dataset of 12 pairs of T2-weighted Fluid Attenuated Inversion Recovery (FLAIR) images that had lesion analysis ROIs drawn by a single expert operator.

RESULTS:

In the tests where two human experts evaluated the same MRI images, the MACC program demonstrated that it could markedly reduce inter-operator outline error. In the longitudinal part of the study, the MACC program created ROIs on follow-up scans that were in close agreement to the original expert's ROIs. Finally, in a post-hoc analysis of 424 follow-up scans 91% of propagated MACC were accepted by an expert and only 9% of the final accepted ROIS had to be created or edited by the expert.

CONCLUSION:

When used with an expert operator's verification of automatically created ROIs, MACC can be used to improve inter- operator agreement and decrease analysis time, which should improve data collected and analyzed in multicenter clinical trials.

PMID:
24004511
PMCID:
PMC3766707
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2342-13-29
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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