Reliability, Reproducibility and Prognostic Accuracy of the Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score on CT Perfusion and Non-Contrast CT in Hyperacute Stroke

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017;44(3-4):195-202. doi: 10.1159/000479707. Epub 2017 Aug 16.


Background: Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) assesses early ischemic change on non-contrast CT (NCCT). We hypothesised that assessing ASPECTS regions on CT Perfusion (CTP) rather than NCCT would improve inter-rater agreement and prognostic accuracy, particularly in patients presenting early after stroke onset.

Methods: Ischemic stroke patients treated with intravenous alteplase from 2009 to 2014 at our institution were included in this study. Inter-rater agreement and prognostic accuracy of ASPECTS across modalities were analysed by the time between stroke onset and initial NCCT, dichotomized 1st quartile versus quartiles 2-4, referred to as epochs. ASPECTS was assessed by 2 independent raters, blinded to stroke onset time, with agreement determined by weighted kappa (κw). Prognostic accuracy for favourable outcome (modified Rankin Scale 0-2) was assessed using the receiver-operating characteristic analysis.

Results: A total of 227 participants were included. There was significant time-by-CT modality interaction for ASPECTS, p < 0.0001. The inter-rater agreement of ASPECTS on NCCT significantly increased as onset to CT time increased (κw epoch 1 = 0.76 vs. κw epoch 2-4 = 0.89, p = 0.04), whereas agreement using CTP parameters was stable across epochs. Inter-rater agreement for CTP-ASPECTS was significantly higher than NCCT in early epoch: Tmax κw = 0.96, p = 0.002; cerebral blood volume (CBV) κw = 0.95, p = 0.003; cerebral blood flow (CBF) κw = 0.94, p = 0.006, with no differences in the later epochs. Prognostic accuracy of ASPECTS on NCCT in epoch 1 were (area under the ROC curves [AUC] = 0.52, 95% CI 0.48-0.56), CBV (AUC = 0.55, 95% CI 0.42-0.69, CBF (AUC = 0.58, 95% CI 0.46-0.71) and Tmax (AUC = 0.62, 95% CI 0.49-0.75), p = 0.46 between modalities.

Conclusions: CTP can improve reliability when assessing the extent of ischemic changes, particularly in patients imaged early after stroke onset.

Keywords: ASPECTS; CT Perfusion; Hyperacute stroke; NCCT.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Angiography / methods*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Computed Tomography Angiography*
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Multidetector Computed Tomography*
  • Observer Variation
  • Perfusion Imaging / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Victoria