, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 643–650 | Cite as

Assessment of quantitative methods for enhancement measurement on vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging evaluation of intracranial atherosclerosis

  • Matthew D. AlexanderEmail author
  • Adam de Havenon
  • Seong-Eun Kim
  • Dennis L. Parker
  • Joseph S. McNally
Diagnostic Neuroradiology



Quantitative measures of vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging (vwMRI) for the evaluation of intracranial atherosclerotic disease (ICAD) offers standardization not available with previously used qualitative approaches that may be difficult to replicate.


vwMRI studies performed to evaluate ICAD that had caused a stroke were analyzed. Two blinded reviewers qualitatively rated culprit lesions for the presence of enhancement on T1 delay alternating with nutation for tailored excitation (DANTE) SPACE images. At least 3 months later, quantitative analysis was performed of the same images, comparing lesion enhancement to reference structures. Cohen’s kappa and intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to assess agreement. Ratios of enhancement of lesions to references were compared to qualitative ratings.


Studies from 54 patients met inclusion criteria. A mean of 49 (90.7%) lesions were qualitatively rated as enhancing, with good inter-rater agreement (κ = 0.783). Among reference structure candidates, low infundibulum demonstrated the highest inter-rater agreement on pre- and post-contrast imaging. The ratio of percentage increase in plaque signal following contrast to the same measure in low infundibulum demonstrated the highest agreement with qualitative assessment, with highest agreement seen with a ratio of 0.8 set as a threshold (κ = 0.675).


Quantitative metrics can yield objective data to better standardize techniques and acceptance of vwMRI evaluation of ICAD. The low infundibulum had the highest inter-rater agreement on both pre- and post-contrast images and is best suited as a normally enhancing reference structure. Such quantitative techniques should be implemented in future research of vwMRI for the evaluation of ICAD.


Intracranial atherosclerosis Vessel wall Imaging MRI Quantitative analysis 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Imaging SciencesUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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