Cardiac function by MRI in congenital heart disease: impact of consensus training on interinstitutional variance.

King's College London BHF Centre, Division of Imaging Sciences, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust London, United Kingdom.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Impact Factor: 2.57). 11/2009; 30(5):956-66. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.21948
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the impact of interinstitutional variance (=interobserver variance between institutions) for volumetric and flow cardiac MR (CMR) data and if training on image reading could improve bias.
In a three-center study, a total of 32 adults with repaired Tetralogy of Fallot and 23 controls underwent CMR using standardized protocols for ventricular volumes/mass (by transverse and short-axis cine-MRI) and pulmonary/aortic blood flow by velocity-encoded MRI (VEC-MRI). Data were analyzed blinded and independently in each institution by experienced readers. Interinstitutional variance was determined before/after training on consented guidelines for image analysis.
In patients, initial interinstitutional variability of right ventricular parameters was substantial but decreased by training. On transverse planes, variation coefficient for end-diastolic/systolic volumes and ejection fraction decreased from 22%, 19%, and 19% to 7%, 10%, and 8%, respectively (P < 0.025). Left-ventricular variation coefficients improved for end-diastolic and stroke volumes from 8% and 15% to 4% and 6%, respectively (P < 0.007). For short-axis volumetry training resulted in narrowed limits of confidence. Variability did not significantly change in the controls. There was no significant difference between transverse/short-axis MRI. Interinstitutional variance for VEC-MRI in patients/controls was low (<4%).
Interinstitutional variance is an important source of variability in volumetric but not in flow CMR. Such variance can be reduced effectively by consented training.

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