Shear wave elastography of the uterine cervix under different conditions with inter-operator agreement analysis
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Bakirkoy Dr. Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
Submission date: 2020-01-01
Final revision date: 2020-03-13
Acceptance date: 2020-03-19
Publication date: 2020-05-11
Pol J Radiol, 2020; 85: 245-249
Shear wave elastography (SWE) is a relatively new technique for measuring tissue elasticity. Its implementation for assessing the tissue of the cervix is evolving, and SWE analyses of healthy, nonpregnant cervixes is the first step in understanding other SWE changes related to cervical pathologies; nevertheless, some challenges in the use of the technique still require investigation. We aimed to target the consistency of healthy cervix shear wave elastography measurements and examine the changes induced by patient-related factors.

Material and methods:
Elastograms were obtained at the internal and external os in the anterior (IA, EA) and posterior (IP, EP) portions of the cervix using a transvaginal approach in eight postmenopausal and 25 premenopausal women. Measurements with a standard deviation of over 20% and patients who presented with colour loss or heterogeneity were excluded from the study. Shear wave elastography assessments were performed using a Toshiba Aplio 500 version 6. Statistical significance was defined as a p value less than 0.10, due to the small number of patients.

The mean speeds obtained at the external os on the anterior and posterior aspects was 3.17 ± 0.85 m/s and 3.18 ± 0.84 m/s, respectively, and at the internal os, the results on the anterior and posterior aspects were 3.38 ± 0.73 m/s and 3.53 ± 0.81 m/s, respectively. The difference in speed among all regions was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Fifteen patients were also analysed by a second radiologist with a similar experience level as that of the first. Nine measurements for IP, 13 measurements for IA, 11 measurements for EP, and 15 measurements for EA were performed. The correlation coefficients between the two sets of measurements were 0.46, 0.30, 0.67, and 0.51, respectively. There was no difference in the SWE values with respect to age, parity, and gravidity for any of the regions. The SWE values at the IA, IP, and EA regions between the postmenopausal and premenopausal women were significantly different (p = 0.038, p = 0.059, p = 0.065).

The posterior portion of the internal os is most likely to undergo inaccurate SWE measurement among the different anatomical positions. The correlation between radiologists was found to be different for different locations in the cervix. More studies are needed to determine the SWE values of the healthy cervix and the agreement levels between radiologists.

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