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Boosting phase-contrast MRI performance in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus diagnostics by means of machine learning approach

Aleš Vlasák, Václav Gerla, Petr Skalický, Arnošt Mládek, Vojtěch Sedlák, Jiří Vrána, Helen Whitley, Lenka Lhotská, Vladimír Beneš Sr., Vladimír Beneš Jr., and Ondřej Bradáč

OBJECTIVE

Phase-contrast MRI allows detailed measurements of various parameters of CSF motion. This examination is technically demanding and machine dependent. The literature on this topic is ambiguous. Machine learning (ML) approaches have already been successfully utilized in medical research, but none have yet been applied to enhance the results of CSF flowmetry. The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible contribution of ML algorithms in enhancing the utilization and results of MRI flowmetry in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) diagnostics.

METHODS

The study cohort consisted of 30 iNPH patients and 15 healthy controls examined on one MRI machine. All major phase-contrast parameters were inspected: peak positive, peak negative, and average velocities; peak amplitude; positive, negative, and average flow rates; and aqueductal area. The authors applied ML algorithms to 85 complex features calculated from a phase-contrast study.

RESULTS

The most distinctive parameters with p < 0.005 were the peak negative velocity, peak amplitude, and negative flow. From the ML algorithms, the Adaptive Boosting classifier showed the highest specificity and best discrimination potential overall, with 80.4% ± 2.9% accuracy, 72.0% ± 5.6% sensitivity, 84.7% ± 3.8% specificity, and 0.812 ± 0.047 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). The highest sensitivity was 85.7% ± 5.6%, reached by the Gaussian Naive Bayes model, and the best AUC was 0.854 ± 0.028 by the Extra Trees classifier.

CONCLUSIONS

Feature extraction algorithms combined with ML approaches simplify the utilization of phase-contrast MRI. The highest-performing ML algorithm was Adaptive Boosting, which showed good calibration and discrimination on the testing data, with 80.4% accuracy, 72.0% sensitivity, 84.7% specificity, and 0.812 AUC. Phase-contrast MRI boosted by the ML approach can help to determine shunt-responsive iNPH patients.