Purpose: In ASPECTS, 10 brain regions are scored visually for presence of acute ischemic stroke damage. We evaluated automated ASPECTS in comparison to expert readers. Methods: Consecutive, baseline non-contrast CT-scans (5-mm slice thickness) from the prospective MR CLEAN trial (n = 459, MR CLEAN Netherlands Trial Registry number: NTR1804) were evaluated. A two-observer consensus for ASPECTS regions (normal/abnormal) was used as reference standard for training and testing (0.2/0.8 division). Two other observers provided individual ASPECTS-region scores. The Automated ASPECTS software was applied. A region score specificity of ≥ 90% was used to determine the software threshold for detection of an affected region based on relative density difference between affected and contralateral region. Sensitivity, specificity, and receiver-operating characteristic curves were calculated. Additionally, we assessed intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for automated ASPECTS and observers in comparison to the reference standard in the test set. Results: In the training set (n = 104), with software thresholds for a specificity of ≥ 90%, we found a sensitivity of 33–49% and an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.741–0.785 for detection of an affected ASPECTS region. In the test set (n = 355), the results for the found software thresholds were 89–89% (specificity), 41–57% (sensitivity), and 0.750–0.795 (AUC). Comparison of automated ASPECTS with the reference standard resulted in an ICC of 0.526. Comparison of observers with the reference standard resulted in an ICC of 0.383–0.464. Conclusion: The performance of automated ASPECTS is comparable to expert readers and could support readers in the detection of early ischemic changes.
The MR CLEAN trial was funded in part by the Dutch Heart Foundation and by unrestricted grants from AngioCare BV, Medtronic/Covidien/EV3, MEDAC Gmbh/LAMEPRO, Penumbra Inc., Stryker, and Top Medical/Concentric.
Publisher Copyright: © 2020, The Author(s).