Objective: To evaluate the performance of a semi-automated method for the segmentation of individual renal cysts from magnetic resonance (MR) images in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
Design, setting, participants, & measurements: This semi-automated method was based on a morphologic watershed technique with shape-detection level set for segmentation of renal cysts from MR images. T2-weighted MR image sets of 40 kidneys were selected from 20 patients with mild to moderate renal cyst burden (kidney volume < 1500 ml) in the Consortium for Radiologic Imaging Studies of Polycystic Kidney Disease (CRISP). The performance of the semi-automated method was assessed in terms of two reference metrics in each kidney: the total number of cysts measured by manual counting and the total volume of cysts measured with a region-based thresholding method. The proposed and reference measurements were compared using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland-Altman analysis.
Results: Individual renal cysts were successfully segmented with the semi-automated method in all 20 cases. The total number of cysts in each kidney measured with the two methods correlated well (ICC, 0.99), with a very small relative bias (0.3% increase with the semi-automated method; limits of agreement, 15.2% reduction to 17.2% increase). The total volume of cysts measured using both methods also correlated well (ICC, 1.00), with a small relative bias of <10% (9.0% decrease in the semi-automated method; limits of agreement, 17.1% increase to 43.3% decrease).
Conclusion: This semi-automated method to segment individual renal cysts in ADPKD kidneys provides a quantitative indicator of severity in early and moderate stages of the disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01039987.