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BMC Neurol. 2017 Oct 26;17(1):194. doi: 10.1186/s12883-017-0975-2.

Ultra high-field SWI of the substantia nigra at 7T: reliability and consistency of the swallow-tail sign.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroradiology, University Hospital Erlangen-Nuremberg, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054, Erlangen, Germany. manuel.schmidt@uk-erlangen.de.
2
Department of Neuroradiology, University Hospital Erlangen-Nuremberg, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.
3
Department of Molecular Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen-Nuremberg, Schwabachanlage 6, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The loss of the swallow-tail sign of the substantia nigra has been proposed for diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Aim was to evaluate, if the sign occurs consistently in healthy subjects and if it can be reliably detected with high-resolution 7T susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI).

METHODS:

Thirteen healthy adults received SWI at 7T. 3 neuroradiologists, who were blinded to patients' diagnosis, independently classified subjects regarding the swallow-tail sign to be present or absent. Accuracy, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) as well as inter- and intra-rater reliability and internal consistency were analyzed.

RESULTS:

The sign could be detected in 81% of the cases in consensus reading. Accuracy to detect the sign compared to the consensus was 100, 77 and 96% for the three readers with PPV reader 1/2/3 = 1/0.45/0.83 and NPV = 1/1/1. Inter-rater reliability was excellent (inter-class correlation coefficient = 0.844, alpha = 0.871). Intra-rater reliability was good to excellent (reader 1 R/L = 0.625/0.786; reader 2 = 0.7/0.64; reader 3 = 0.9/1).

CONCLUSION:

The swallow-tail sign can be reliably detected. However, our data suggest its occurrence is not consistent in healthy subjects. It may be possible that one reason is an individually variable molecular organization of nigrosome 1 so that it does not return a uniform signal in SWI.

KEYWORDS:

7 tesla; Nigrosome 1; Parkinson’s disease; SWI; Swallow-tail sign; Ultra high-field MRI

PMID:
29073886
PMCID:
PMC5658950
DOI:
10.1186/s12883-017-0975-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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