Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The reduction of inter- and intra-observer variability for defining regions of interest in nuclear medicine

  • 34 Accesses

  • 1 Citations


The use of region-of-interest (ROI) techniques to quantify data obtained in radionuclide images is common-place. However, the reproducibility of quantitation due to inter- and intra-observer variations using particular methods of deriving ROIs is often not appreciated. We examined such variations in the results obtained by four independent observers of varying experience using four methods of depicting a ROI about an organ. The set of image data consisted of renal scans with varying target-to-background ratios, and the ROI facilities included two edge-detection methods. The results indicated that, once observers were experienced with edge-detection methods, a lower inter- and intra-observer variation could be achieved, although the technique of ‘shrinking’ a ROI about a subjectively chosen display level was reasonably satisfactory. In terms or reproducibility, the least satisfactory method of depicting a ROI was the commonly used manually guided ‘bug’ around arbitarily chosen display levels representing the boundary of an organ.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Biello DR, Sampathkumaran KS, Geltman EM, Britson WA, Scott DJ, Grbac RT (1981) Determination of left ventricular ejection fraction: A new method that requires minimal operator training. J Nucl Med Technol 9:77–80

  2. Bourguignon MH, Douglass KH, Links JM, Wagner HN Jr. (1981) Fully automated data acquisition, processing and display in equilibrium radioventriculography. Eur J Nucl Med 6:343–347

  3. Davis LS (1975) A survey of edge detection techniques. Comput Graphics Image Process 4:248–270

  4. Gandsman EJ, North DL, Schulman RS, Bough EN (1981) Measurement of the ventricular stroke volume ratio by gated radionuclide angiography. Radiology 138:161–165

  5. Goris ML, McKillop JH, Briandet PA (1981) A fully automated determination of the left ventricular region of interest in nuclear angiocardiography. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 4:117–123

  6. Jackson PC (1982) Evaluating the performance of an edge detection algorithm for use in radioisotope imaging. Phys Med Biol 27:1045–1055

  7. Jackson PC, Wilde P, Watt I, Davies ER (1981) An edge detection algorithm for use in radionuclide imaging. Eur J Nucl Med 6:33–38

  8. Pizer SM, Todd-Pokropek AE (1978) Improvement of scintigrams by computer processing. Semin Nucl Med 2:125–146

  9. Shutsky R, Pfisterer M, Verba J, Battler A, Ashburn W (1980) Influence of different background and left ventricular assignments on the ejection fraction in equilibrium radionuclide angiography. Radiology 135:725–730

  10. Taylor DN, Garvie NW, Harris D, Sharrantt GP, Goddard BA, Ackery DM (1980) The effect of various background protocols on the measurement of left ventricular ejection fraction in equilibrium radionuclide angiography. Br J Radiol 53:205–209

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Dr. P. C. Jackson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jackson, P.C., Jones, M., Brimble, C.E. et al. The reduction of inter- and intra-observer variability for defining regions of interest in nuclear medicine. Eur J Nucl Med 11, 186–189 (1985).

Download citation

Key words

  • Region of interest
  • Edge detection