Automated Knee Osteoarthritis Assessment Increases Physicians' Agreement Rate and Accuracy: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

Cartilage. 2021 Dec;13(1_suppl):957S-965S. doi: 10.1177/1947603519888793. Epub 2019 Nov 24.


Objective. To assess the impact of a computerized system on physicians' accuracy and agreement rate, as compared with unaided diagnosis. Methods. A set of 124 unilateral knee radiographs from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) study were analyzed by a computerized method with regard to Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grade, as well as joint space narrowing, osteophytes, and sclerosis Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) grades. Physicians scored all images, with regard to osteophytes, sclerosis, joint space narrowing OARSI grades and KL grade, in 2 modalities: through a plain radiograph (unaided) and a radiograph presented together with the report from the computer assisted detection system (aided). Intraclass correlation between the physicians was calculated for both modalities. Furthermore, physicians' performance was compared with the grading of the OAI study, and accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated in both modalities for each of the scored features. Results. Agreement rates for KL grade, sclerosis, and osteophyte OARSI grades, were statistically increased in the aided versus the unaided modality. Readings for joint space narrowing OARSI grade did not show a statistically difference between the 2 modalities. Readers' accuracy and specificity for KL grade >0, KL >1, sclerosis OARSI grade >0, and osteophyte OARSI grade >0 was significantly increased in the aided modality. Reader sensitivity was high in both modalities. Conclusions. These results show that the use of an automated knee OA software increases consistency between physicians when grading radiographic features of OA. The use of the software also increased accuracy measures as compared with the OAI study, mostly through increases in specificity.

Keywords: Kellgren-Lawrence; artificial intelligence; computer aided detection; reader study.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteophyte* / diagnostic imaging
  • Physicians*
  • Radiography