Establishing the inter-rater reliability of spinal cord damage manual measurement using magnetic resonance imaging

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2019, International Spinal Cord Society. Study design: Retrospective study. Objectives: To establish the inter-rater reliability in the quantitative evaluation of spinal cord damage following cervical incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI was used to perform manual measurements of the cranial and caudal boundaries of edema, edema length, midsagittal tissue bridge ratio, axial damage ratio, and edema volume in 10 participants with cervical incomplete SCI. Setting: Academic university setting. Methods: Structural MRIs of 10 participants with SCI were collected from Northwestern University’s Neuromuscular Imaging and Research Lab. All manual measures were performed using OsiriX (Pixmeo Sarl, Geneva, Switzerland). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were used to determine inter-rater reliability across seven raters of varying experience. Results: High-to-excellent inter-rater reliability was found for all measures. ICC values for cranial/caudal levels of involvement, edema length, midsagittal tissue bridge ratio, axial damage ratio, and edema volume were 0.99, 0.98, 0.90, 0.84, and 0.93, respectively. Conclusions: Manual MRI measures of spinal cord damage are reliable between raters. Researchers and clinicians may confidently utilize manual MRI measures to quantify cord damage. Future research to predict functional recovery following SCI and better inform clinical management is warranted.

This document is currently not available here.