Volume measurement of bone erosions in magnetic resonance images of patients with rheumatoid arthritis
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The volume of bone erosions in the metacarpophalangeal joints is a radiological feature that can be used to track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. We introduce a hybrid segmentation algorithm that combines region growing and level-set segmentation algorithms to semiautomatically measure the volume of bone erosions in magnetic resonance images. A total of 40 rheumatoid arthritis patients were included in the study. The scans of eight patients were used for training, whereas the remaining 32 scans were used to determine the accuracy, precision, and speed of the technique. The reproducibility of the semiautomated technique and that of manual segmentation was defined in terms of intraclass correlation coefficients. Both techniques were equally precise with intraclass correlation coefficient values greater than 0.9. The hybrid algorithm was highly accurate: the least squares fit between the semiautomated segmentations to those manually traced by a musculoskeletal radiologist resulted in a slope of 1.030 with an x-intercept of 1.385 mm(3) and an R(2) value of 0.923. The semiautomated technique was significantly faster than manual segmentation, which took two to four times longer to complete. Our hybrid algorithm shows promise in the quantitative assessment of radiological features of rheumatoid arthritis in a clinical setting.
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