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Reliability and validity of visual analysis of [ 18 F]FE-PE2I PET/CT in early Parkinsonian disease.

OBJECTIVE: [ 18 F]FE-PE2I (FE-PE2I) is a new radiotracer for dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging with PET. The aim of this study was to evaluate the visual interpretation of FE-PE2I images for the diagnosis of idiopathic Parkinsonian syndrome (IPS). The inter-rater variability, sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy for visual interpretation of striatal FE-PE2I compared to [ 123 I]FP-CIT (FP-CIT) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was evaluated.

METHODS: Thirty patients with newly onset parkinsonism and 32 healthy controls with both an FE-PE2I and FP-CIT were included in the study. Four patients had normal DAT imaging, of which three did not fulfil the IPS criteria at the clinical reassessment after 2 years. Six raters evaluated the DAT images blinded to the clinical diagnosis, interpreting the image as being 'normal' or 'pathological', and assessed the degree of DAT-reduction in the caudate and putamen. The inter-rater agreement was assessed with intra-class correlation and Cronbach's α . For calculation of sensitivity and specificity, DAT images were defined as correctly classified if categorized as normal or pathological by ≥4/6 raters.

RESULTS: The overall agreement in visual evaluation of the FE-PE2I- and FP-CIT images was high for the IPS patients ( α  = 0.960 and 0.898, respectively), but lower in healthy controls (FE-PE2I: α  = 0.693, FP-CIT: α  = 0.657). Visual interpretation gave high sensitivity (both 0.96) but lower specificity (FE-PE2I: 0.86, FP-CIT: 0.63) with an accuracy of 90% for FE-PE2I and 77% for FP-CIT.

CONCLUSION: Visual evaluation of FE-PE2I PET imaging demonstrates high reliability and diagnostic accuracy for IPS.

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