Objectives: To assess inter-observer variability of renal blood oxygenation level-dependent MRI (BOLD-MRI) using a new method of analysis, called the concentric objects (CO) technique, in comparison with the classical ROI (region of interest)-based technique.
Methods: MR imaging (3T) was performed before and after furosemide in 10 chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients (mean eGFR 43±24ml/min/1.73m(2)) and 10 healthy volunteers (eGFR 101±28ml/min1.73m(2)), and R2* maps were determined on four coronal slices. In the CO-technique, R2* values were based on a semi-automatic procedure that divided each kidney in six equal layers, whereas in the ROI-technique, all circles (ROIs) were placed manually in the cortex and medulla. The mean R2*values as assessed by two independent investigators were compared.
Results: With the CO-technique, inter-observer variability was 0.7%-1.9% across all layers in non-CKD, versus 1.6%-3.8% in CKD. With the ROI-technique, median variability for cortical and medullary R2* values was 3.6 and 6.8% in non-CKD, versus 4.7 and 12.5% in CKD; similar results were observed after furosemide.
Conclusion: The CO-technique offers a new, investigator-independent, highly reproducible alternative to the ROI-based technique to estimate renal tissue oxygenation in CKD.
Keywords: BOLD-MRI; Chronic kidney disease; Concentric objects; Furosemide; Imaging analysis; Onion peel technique; Region of interest; Reproducibility.
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