Multiple reader comparison of 2D TOF, 3D TOF, and CEMRA in screening of the carotid bifurcations: Time to reconsider routine contrast use?

Jeffrey S. Ross, Skye A. Buckner Petty, Waleed Brinjikji, Joseph M. Hoxworth, Vance T. Lehman, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Ameet C. Patel, Christopher P. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose MR contrast-enhanced techniques are undergoing increased scrutiny since the FDA applied a warning for gadolinium-based MR contrast agents due to gadolinium deposition within multiple organ systems. While CE-MRA provides excellent image quality, is it required in a screening carotid study? This study compares 2D TOF and 3D TOF MRA vs. CE-MRA in defining carotid stenosis in a large clinical patient population, and with multiple readers with varying experience. Materials and methods 200 consecutive patients had their carotid bifurcations evaluated with 2D TOF, 3D TOF and CE-MRA sequences by 6 board-certified neuroradiologists. Stenosis and quality of examinations were defined for each study. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using two-way random effects intraclass correlation coefficients. Intra-reader reliability was computed via weighted Cohen’s κ. Weighted Cohen’s κ were also computed to assess agreement in stenosis ratings between enhanced images and unenhanced images. Results Agreement between unenhanced and enhanced ratings was substantial with a pooled weighted κ of 0.733 (0.628–0.811). For 5 of the 6 readers, the combination of unenhanced 2D TOF and 3D TOF showed better agreement with contrast-enhanced than either 2D TOF or 3D TOF alone. Intra-reader reliability was substantial. Conclusions The combination of 2D TOF and 3D TOF MRA showed substantial agreement with CEMRA regarding degree of carotid stenosis in this large outpatient population across multiple readers of varying experience. Given the scrutiny that GBCA are undergoing due to concerns regarding CNS and soft tissue deposition, it seems prudent to reserve CE-MRA for cases which are not satisfactorily answered by the nonenhanced study or other noninvasive examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0237856
JournalPloS one
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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