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Axial Spondyloarthritis: Does Magnetic Resonance Imaging Classification Improve Report Interpretation.

OBJECTIVE: The interpretation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reports is crucial for the diagnosis of axial spondyloarthritis, but the subjective nature of narrative reports can lead to varying interpretations. This study presents a validation of a novel MRI reporting system for the sacroiliac joint in clinical practice.

METHODS: A historical review was conducted on 130 consecutive patients referred by 2 rheumatologists for initial MRI assessment of possible axial spondyloarthritis. The original MRI reports were interpreted by the rheumatologists and the radiologist who originally read the images and then categorized according to the novel system. Two musculoskeletal radiologists then reinterpreted the original MRI scans using the new system, and the resulting reports were interpreted and categorized by the same rheumatologists. The quality of the new framework was assessed by comparing the interpretations of both reports.

RESULTS: Ninety-two patients met the study criteria. The rheumatologists disagreed on the categorization of the original MRI reports in 12% of cases. The rheumatologists and original radiologists disagreed on the categorization of the initial report in 23.4% of cases. In contrast, there was 100% agreement between the rheumatologists and radiologists on the categorization of the new MRI report.

CONCLUSION: The new MRI categorization system significantly improved the agreement between the clinician and radiologist in report interpretation. The system provided a standard vocabulary for reporting, reduced variability in report interpretation, and may therefore improve clinical decision-making.

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