MRI-Based Brain Volume Scoring in Cerebral Malaria Is Externally Valid and Applicable to Lower-Resolution Images

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology








BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Children with cerebral malaria have an elevated risk of mortality and neurologic morbidity. Both mortality and morbidity are associated with initially increased brain volume on MR imaging, as graded by the Brain Volume Score, a subjective ordinal rating scale created specifically for brain MRIs in children with cerebral malaria. For the Brain Volume Score to be more widely clinically useful, we aimed to determine its independent reproducibility and whether it can be applicable to lower-resolution MRIs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: To assess the independent reproducibility of the Brain Volume Score, radiologists not associated with the initial study were trained to score MRIs from a new cohort of patients with cerebral malaria. These scores were then compared with survival and neurologic outcomes. To assess the applicability to lower-resolution MRI, we assigned Brain Volume Scores to brain MRIs degraded to simulate a very-low-field (64 mT) portable scanner and compared these with the original scores assigned to the original nondegraded MRIs. RESULTS: Brain Volume Scores on the new cohort of patients with cerebral malaria were highly associated with outcomes (OR for mortality = 16, < .001). Scoring of the simulated degraded images remained consistent with the Brain Volume Scores assigned to the original higher-quality (0.35 T) images (intraclass coefficients > 0.86). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that the Brain Volume Score is externally valid in reproducibly predicting outcomes and can be reliably assigned to lower-resolution images.