Multi-vendor and multisite evaluation of cerebrovascular reactivity mapping using hypercapnia challenge.

Peiying Liu
Dengrong Jiang
Marilyn Albert
Christopher E Bauer
Arvind Caprihan
Brian T Gold
Steven M Greenberg
Karl G Helmer
Kay Jann
Gregory Jicha
Pavel Rodriguez MD, Lehigh Valley Health Network
Claudia L Satizabal
Sudha Seshadri
Herpreet Singh
Jeffrey F Thompson
Danny J J Wang
Hanzhang Lu


Cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR), which measures the ability of cerebral blood vessels to dilate or constrict in response to vasoactive stimuli such as CO2 inhalation, is an important index of the brain's vascular health. Quantification of CVR using BOLD MRI with hypercapnia challenge has shown great promises in research and clinical studies. However, in order for it to be used as a potential imaging biomarker in large-scale and multi-site studies, the reliability of CO2-CVR quantification across different MRI acquisition platforms and researchers/raters must be examined. The goal of this report from the MarkVCID small vessel disease biomarkers consortium is to evaluate the reliability of CO2-CVR quantification in three studies. First, the inter-rater reliability of CO2-CVR data processing was evaluated by having raters from 5 MarkVCID sites process the same 30 CVR datasets using a cloud-based CVR data processing pipeline. Second, the inter-scanner reproducibility of CO2-CVR quantification was assessed in 10 young subjects across two scanners of different vendors. Third, test-retest repeatability was evaluated in 20 elderly subjects from 4 sites with a scan interval of less than 2 weeks. In all studies, the CO2 CVR measurements were performed using the fixed inspiration method, where the subjects wore a nose clip and a mouthpiece and breathed room air and 5% CO2 air contained in a Douglas bag alternatively through their mouth. The results showed that the inter-rater CoV of CVR processing was 0.08 ± 0.08% for whole-brain CVR values and ranged from 0.16% to 0.88% in major brain regions, with ICC of absolute agreement above 0.9959 for all brain regions. Inter-scanner CoV was found to be 6.90 ± 5.08% for whole-brain CVR values, and ranged from 4.69% to 12.71% in major brain regions, which are comparable to intra-session CoVs obtained from the same scanners on the same day. ICC of consistency between the two scanners was 0.8498 for whole-brain CVR and ranged from 0.8052 to 0.9185 across major brain regions. In the test-retest evaluation, test-retest CoV across different days was found to be 18.29 ± 17.12% for whole-brain CVR values, and ranged from 16.58% to 19.52% in major brain regions, with ICC of absolute agreement ranged from 0.6480 to 0.7785. These results demonstrated good inter-rater, inter-scanner, and test-retest reliability in healthy volunteers, and suggested that CO2-CVR has suitable instrumental properties for use as an imaging biomarker of cerebrovascular function in multi-site and longitudinal observational studies and clinical trials.