Inter- and Intraobserver Variability of (Semi-)Quantitative Parameters Commonly Used in Feline Thyroid Scintigraphy

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Volckaert V., Vandermeulen E., Duchateau L., et al.

Res Vet Sci, 2016. 105: p.87-91.


The aim of this study was to assess inter- and intraobserver variability of commonly used semi-quantitative and quantitative parameters in feline thyroid scintigraphy: thyroid to salivary gland ratio (T/S), thyroid to background ratio (T/B) and the percentage technetium pertechnetate uptake for the thyroid glands (%TcUT). These parameters are being used to diagnose thyroid disease and to assess its severity, but may be influenced by operator related factors when processing the images. Additionally, inter- and intraobserver variability of the percentage technetium pertechnetate uptake for the salivary glands was determined (%TcUSG). The study included technetium pertechnetate scans of 100 hyperthyroid cats. Variability within and between three observers was determined using a random effects model and variance components were estimated by the restricted maximum likelihood procedure. The %TcU for the thyroid and salivary glands, as well as the T/S ratio, showed little to no difference in inter- and intraobserver variability, whereas this was clearly present for the T/B ratio. Overall, the T/S ratio and %TcUSG showed a good repeatability and reproducibility with low inter- and intraobserver variabilities. Inter- and intraobserver variability was higher for the %TcUT, however variations were still considered to be acceptable. On the contrary, inter- and intraobserver variability was clearly larger for the T/B ratio. These findings suggest the preferential use of the T/S ratio or %TcU, especially in facilities with a less experienced staff.