Quantification of visceral adipose tissue by computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging: reproducibility and accuracy

Abstract Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of quantifying visceral adipose tissue (VAT) on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, using freeware, as well as calculating intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility. Materials and Methods: We quantified VAT in patients who underwent abdominal CT and MRI at our institution between 2010 and 2015, with a maximum of three months between the two examinations. A slice acquired at the level of the umbilicus was selected. Segmentation was performed with the region growing algorithm of the freeware employed. Intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility were evaluated, as was the accuracy of MRI in relation to that of CT. Results: Thirty-one patients (14 males and 17 females; mean age of 57 ± 15 years) underwent CT and MRI (mean interval between the examinations, 28 ± 12 days). The interobserver reproducibility was 82% for CT (bias = 1.52 cm2; p = 0.488), 86% for T1-weighted MRI (bias = −4.36 cm2; p = 0.006), and 88% for T2-weighted MRI (bias = −0.52 cm2; p = 0.735). The intraobserver reproducibility was 90% for CT (bias = 0.14 cm2; p = 0.912), 92% for T1-weighted MRI (bias = −3,4 cm2; p = 0.035), and 90% for T2-weighted MRI (bias = −0.30 cm2; p = 0.887). The reproducibility between T1-weighted MRI and T2-weighted MRI was 87% (bias = −0.11 cm2; p = 0.957). In comparison with the accuracy of CT, that of T1-weighted and T2-weighted MRI was 89% and 91%, respectively. Conclusion: The program employed can be used in order to quantify VAT on CT, T1-weighted MRI, and T2-weighted MRI scans. Overall, the accuracy of MRI (in comparison with that of CT) appears to be high, as do intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility. However, the quantification of VAT seems to be less reproducible in T1-weighted sequences.