Infoscience

Journal article

Inter-operator Reliability of Magnetic Resonance Image-Based Computational Fluid Dynamics Prediction of Cerebrospinal Fluid Motion in the Cervical Spine

For the first time, inter-operator dependence of MRI based computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the cervical spinal subarachnoid space (SSS) is evaluated. In vivo MRI flow measurements and anatomy MRI images were obtained at the cervico-medullary junction of a healthy subject and a Chiari I malformation patient. 3D anatomies of the SSS were reconstructed by manual segmentation by four independent operators for both cases. CFD results were compared at nine axial locations along the SSS in terms of hydrodynamic and geometric parameters. Intraclass correlation (ICC) assessed the inter-operator agreement for each parameter over the axial locations and coefficient of variance (CV) compared the percentage of variance for each parameter between the operators. Greater operator dependence was found for the patient (0.19 < ICC < 0.99) near the craniovertebral junction compared to the healthy subject (ICC > 0.78). For the healthy subject, hydraulic diameter and Womersley number had the least variance (CV = similar to 2%). For the patient, peak diastolic velocity and Reynolds number had the smallest variance (CV = similar to 3%). These results show a high degree of inter-operator reliability for MRI-based CFD simulations of CSF flow in the cervical spine for healthy subjects and a lower degree of reliability for patients with Type I Chiari malformation.

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