Objectives: Tenosynovitis (inflammation of the synovial lining of the sheath surrounding tendons) is frequently observed on MRI of early arthritis patients. Since visual assessment of tenosynovitis is a laborious task, we investigated the feasibility of automatic quantification of tenosynovitis on MRI of the wrist in a large cohort of early arthritis patients. Methods: For 563 consecutive early arthritis patients (clinically confirmed arthritis ≥ 1 joint, symptoms < 2 years), MR scans of the wrist were processed in three automatic stages. First, super-resolution reconstruction was applied to fuse coronal and axial scans into a single high-resolution three-dimensional image. Next, 10 extensor/flexor tendon regions were segmented using atlas-based segmentation and marker-based watershed. A measurement region of interest (ROI) was defined around the tendons. Finally, tenosynovitis was quantified by identifying image intensity values associated with tenosynovial inflammation using fuzzy clustering and measuring the fraction of voxels with these characteristic intensities within the measurement ROI. A subset of 60 patients was used for training and the remaining 503 patients for validation. Correlation between quantitative measurements and visual scores was assessed through Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: Pearson correlation between quantitative measurements and visual scores across 503 patients was r = 0.90, p < 0.001. False detections due to blood vessels and synovitis present within the measurement ROI contributed to a median offset from zero equivalent to 13.8% of the largest measurement value. Conclusion: Quantitative measurement of tenosynovitis on MRI of the wrist is feasible and largely consistent with visual scores. Further improvements in segmentation and exclusion of false detections are warranted. Key Points: • Automatic measurement of tenosynovitis on MRI of the wrist is feasible and largely consistent with visual scores. • Blood vessels and synovitis in the vicinity of evaluated tendons can contribute to false detections in automatic measurements. • Further improvements in segmentation and exclusion of false detections are important directions of future work on the path to a robust quantification framework.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Inflammation, Magnetic resonance imaging, Rheumatoid arthritis, Tenosynovitis
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00330-018-5807-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/112343
Journal European Radiology: journal of the European Congress of Radiology
Citation
Aizenberg, E. (Evgeni), Shamonin, D.P, Reijnierse, M, van der Helm-van Mil, A.H.M, & Stoel, B.C. (2018). Automatic quantification of tenosynovitis on MRI of the wrist in patients with early arthritis: a feasibility study. European Radiology: journal of the European Congress of Radiology. doi:10.1007/s00330-018-5807-2