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Interscanner Variation in Brain MR Lesion Load Measurements in MS Using Conventional Spin-Echo, RARE and Fast FLAIR Sequences.

By Massimo Filippi, Maria A. Rocca, C. Gasperini, Maria Pia Sormani, S. Bastianello, Mark A. Horsfield, C. Pozzilli and G. Comi


This is the article published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. It is available on their website at AND PURPOSE: Different MR pulse sequences have been proposed for measuring multiple sclerosis (MS)-related abnormalities. The reproducibility of measured brain MS lesion volumes was compared for MR images performed using different scanners and different pulse sequences. \ud \ud METHODS: Nine patients with relapsing-remitting MS were each imaged on two scanners and, on each occasion, dual-echo conventional spin-echo, dual-echo rapid-acquisition relaxation-enhanced (RARE), and fast fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (fast-FLAIR) images were obtained. The lesion volume present on each image was evaluated three times by a single observer in random order, using a local thresholding technique. \ud \ud RESULTS: The mean lesion volumes present on fast-FLAIR images were significantly higher than those measured on dual-echo conventional spin-echo and RARE images. The mean intraobserver coefficients of variation for the different sequences and scanners ranged from 3.0% to 4.2% (no statistically significant difference). For each of the sequences, the use of different scanners introduced a variability that was higher than the intraobserver variability: the interscanner coefficient of variation was 7.4% for conventional spin-echo, 9.5% for RARE, and 18.5% for fast-FLAIR images. \ud \ud CONCLUSION: Our study confirms that the use of different scanners significantly influences lesion loads measured from MR images of patients with MS and establishes that newer sequences are more susceptible to measurement variability. It also indicates that, if newer sequences are to be used in clinical trials, careful standardization is needed

Publisher: American Society of Neuroradiology
Year: 1999
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