We evaluated intra-rater, inter-rater, and between-scan reproducibility, hemispheric differences, and the effect of age on apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) in healthy children (age range 5.5-19.1 years) examined with a clinical diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocol at 1.5 T, using a region of interest (ROI) methodology. Measures of reliability and precision were assessed in six ROIs using two different ROI shapes (polygonal and ellipsoidal).
Results: Highly reproducible values of ADC and FA were obtained with the polygonal method on intra-rater (coefficients of variation<or=2.7%) and inter-rater (coefficients of variation<or=4.8%) reproducibility. For between-scan reproducibility, the coefficients of variation were <or=5.0%. Mean asymmetry indices were in the range from -4% to 9% for FA and from -6% to 3% for ADC. ADC showed significant negative correlation with age in 13 of 15 examined fiber tracts and FA increased significantly in three fiber tracts. Our results show that the evaluated DTI protocol is suitable for clinical application in pediatric population.