Endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization for the treatment of neonatal and infant hydrocephalus has gained popularity in the past decade. Identifying treatment failure is critically important. Results of a pilot study of 2 novel imaging markers seen on fast-sequence T2-weighted axial MRI showed potential clinical utility. However, the reliability of multiple raters detecting these markers must be established before a multicenter validation study can be performed.
Two sets of de-identified single-shot T2-weighted turbo spin-echo axial images were prepared from scans of patients before and after they underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization between March 2013 and January 2016. The first set showed the lateral and third ventricles for visualization of turbulent CSF dynamics, and the second set showed the lateral ventricular atria for choroid plexus glomus detection. Three raters (Group 1) received written instructions before evaluating each image set once and then again 1 week later. Another 8 raters (Group 2) evaluated both image sets after oral instruction and group training on a pretest image set. Fleiss’ kappa coefficients with 95% CIs were calculated for intrarater and interrater reliability in Group 1 and interrater reliability in Group 2.
Intrarater reliability kappa coefficients for Group 1 were ≥ 0.74 for turbulence and ≥ 0.80 for choroid plexus; their interrater kappa coefficients at the initial assessment were 0.50 (95% CI 0.37–0.62) and 0.56 (95% CI 0.43–0.69), respectively. The Group 2 interrater kappa scores were 0.82 (95% CI 0.78–0.86) for turbulence and 0.62 (95% CI 0.58–0.66) for choroid plexus.
With minimal training, intrarater reliability on visualization of turbulence and the choroid plexus was substantial, but interrater reliability was only moderate. After modestly increasing training, interrater reliability improved to near perfect and to substantial reliability for visualization of turbulence and choroid plexus, respectively. Given adequately trained observers, a multicenter investigation into the validity and potential clinical utility of the imaging markers seems feasible.