The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic performance of the rabbit visual pattern versus the one endorsed by the EANM/SNMMI for the diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes in PET/MRI.
Patients and Methods
The 18F-DOPA PET images of 129 consecutive patients (65 Park+ and 64 controls) with 1 year of clinical follow-up were reviewed independently by 5 experienced readers on the same imaging workstation, blinded to the final clinical diagnosis. Two visual methods were assessed independently, with several days to months of interval: the criteria endorsed by EANM/SNMMI and the “rabbit” shape of the striate assessed on 3D MIP images. The sensitivities, specificities, likelihood ratios, and predictive values of the 2 diagnostic tests were estimated simultaneously by using the “comparison of 2 binary diagnostic tests to a paired design” method.
The estimated 95% confidence interval (CI) of sensitivities and specificities ranged from 49.4% to 76.5% and from 83.2% to 97.7%, respectively. The 95% CI estimates of positive and negative likelihood ratios ranged from 3.8 to 26.7 and from 0.26 to 0.56, respectively. The 95% CI estimates of the positive and negative predictive values ranged from 78.1% to 96.7% and from 60.3% to 81.4%, respectively. For all the parameters, no statistical difference was observed between the 2 methods (P > 0.05). The rabbit sign reduced the readers’ discrepancies by 25%, while maintaining the same performance.
The rabbit visual pattern appears at least comparable to the current EANM/SNMMI reference procedure for the assessment of parkinsonian syndromes in daily clinical practice, without the need of any image postprocessing. Further multicenter prospective studies would be of relevance to validate these findings.