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Diagnostic accuracy of MRI in adults with suspect brachial plexus lesions: A multicentre retrospective study with surgical findings and clinical follow-up as reference standard

European Journal of Radiology
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2011.10.007
  • Brachial Plexus
  • Mri
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity
  • Accuracy
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine


Abstract Objective To evaluate brachial plexus MRI accuracy with surgical findings and clinical follow-up as reference standard in a large multicentre study. Materials and methods The research was approved by the Institutional Review Boards, and all patients provided their written informed consent. A multicentre retrospective trial that included three centres was performed between March 2006 and April 2011. A total of 157 patients (men/women: 81/76; age range, 18–84 years) were evaluated: surgical findings and clinical follow-up of at least 12 months were used as the reference standard. MR imaging was performed with different equipment at 1.5T and 3.0T. The patient group was divided in five subgroups: mass lesion, traumatic injury, entrapment syndromes, post-treatment evaluation, and other. Sensitivity, specificity with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), positive predictive value (PPV), pre-test-probability (the prevalence), negative predictive value (NPV), pre- and post-test odds (OR), likelihood ratio for positive results (LH+), likelihood ratio for negative results (LH−), accuracy and post-test probability (post-P) were reported on a per-patient basis. Results The overall sensitivity and specificity with 95% CIs were: 0.810/0.914; (0.697–0.904). Overall PPV, pre-test probability, NPV, LH+, LH−, and accuracy: 0.823, 0.331, 0.905, 9.432, 0.210, 0.878. Conclusions The overall diagnostic accuracy of brachial plexus MRI calculated on a per-patient base is relatively high. The specificity of brachial plexus MRI in patients suspected of having a space-occupying mass is very high. The sensitivity is also high, but there are false-positive interpretations as well.

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