MR volumetric assessment of endolymphatic hydrops
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We aimed to volumetrically quantify endolymph and perilymph spaces of the inner ear in order to establish a methodological basis for further investigations into the pathophysiology and therapeutic monitoring of Menière’s disease.
Sixteen patients (eight females, aged 38–71 years) with definite unilateral Menière’s disease were included in this study. Magnetic resonance (MR) cisternography with a T2-SPACE sequence was combined with a Real reconstruction inversion recovery (Real-IR) sequence for delineation of inner ear fluid spaces. Machine learning and automated local thresholding segmentation algorithms were applied for three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction and volumetric quantification of endolymphatic hydrops. Test–retest reliability was assessed by the intra-class coefficient; correlation of cochlear endolymph volume ratio with hearing function was assessed by the Pearson correlation coefficient.
Endolymph volume ratios could be reliably measured in all patients, with a mean (range) value of 15 % (2–25) for the cochlea and 28 % (12–40) for the vestibulum. Test-retest reliability was excellent, with an intra-class coefficient of 0.99. Cochlear endolymphatic hydrops was significantly correlated with hearing loss (r = 0.747, p = 0.001).
MR imaging after local contrast application and image processing, including machine learning and automated local thresholding, enable the volumetric quantification of endolymphatic hydrops. This allows for a quantitative assessment of the effect of therapeutic interventions on endolymphatic hydrops.
• Endolymphatic hydrops is the pathological hallmark of Menière’s disease.
• Endolymphatic hydrops can be visualized by locally enhanced ultra-high-resolution MR imaging.
• Computer-aided image processing enables quantification of endolymphatic hydrops.
• Endolymphatic hydrops correlates with hearing loss in patients with Menière’s disease.
• Therapeutic trials in Menière’s disease can be monitored with this quantitative approach.
KeywordsMenière’s disease Endolymphatic hydrops Magnetic resonance imaging Drug administration routes Image analysis
The scientific guarantor of this publication is Robert Gürkov. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationship with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. This study has received funding by the German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF, grant No. 01EO0901). No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study. Methodology: prospective, observational / experimental, performed at one institution.
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