Standardized image post-processing of cardiovascular magnetic resonance T1-mapping reduces variability and improves accuracy and consistency in myocardial tissue characterization.
Carapella V., Puchta H., Lukaschuk E., Marini C., Werys K., Neubauer S., Ferreira VM., Piechnik SK.
BACKGROUND: Myocardial T1-mapping is increasingly used in multicentre studies and trials. Inconsistent image analysis introduces variability, hinders differentiation of diseases, and results in larger sample sizes. We present a systematic approach to standardize T1-map analysis by human operators to improve accuracy and consistency. METHODS: We developed a multi-step training program for T1-map post-processing. The training dataset contained 42 left ventricular (LV) short-axis T1-maps (normal and diseases; 1.5 and 3 Tesla). Contours drawn by two experienced human operators served as reference for myocardial T1 and wall thickness (WT). Trainees (n = 26) underwent training and were evaluated by: (a) qualitative review of contours; (b) quantitative comparison with reference T1 and WT. RESULTS: The mean absolute difference between reference operators was 8.4 ± 6.3 ms (T1) and 1.2 ± 0.7 pixels (WT). Trainees' mean discrepancy from reference in T1 improved significantly post-training (from 8.1 ± 2.4 to 6.7 ± 1.4 ms; p