Accuracy and reliability of measurements obtained from computed tomography 3D volume rendered images

Stull, Kyra E., Tise, Meredith L., Ali, Zabiullah and Fowler, David R. (2014) Accuracy and reliability of measurements obtained from computed tomography 3D volume rendered images. Forensic Science International, 238 . pp. 133-140. ISSN 0379-0738

Accuracy and reliability of measurements obtained from computed tomography 3D volume rendered images

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Forensic pathologists commonly use computed tomography (CT) images to assist in determining the cause and manner of death as well as for mass disaster operations. Even though the design of the CT machine does not inherently produce distortion, most techniques within anthropology rely on metric variables, thus concern exists regarding the accuracy of CT images reflecting an object's true dimensions. Numerous researchers have attempted to validate the use of CT images, however the comparisons have only been conducted on limited elements and/or comparisons were between measurements taken from a dry element and measurements taken from the 3D-CT image of the same dry element.

A full-body CT scan was performed prior to autopsy at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland. Following autopsy, the remains were processed to remove all soft tissues and the skeletal elements were subject to an additional CT scan. Percent differences and Bland–Altman plots were used to assess the accuracy between osteometric variables obtained from the dry skeletal elements and from CT images with and without soft tissues. An additional seven crania were scanned, measured by three observers, and the reliability was evaluated by technical error of measurement (TEM) and relative technical error of measurement (%TEM).

Average percent differences between the measurements obtained from the three data sources ranged from 1.4% to 2.9%. Bland–Altman plots illustrated the two sets of measurements were generally within 2 mm for each comparison between data sources. Intra-observer TEM and %TEM for three observers and all craniometric variables ranged between 0.46 mm and 0.77 mm and 0.56% and 1.06%, respectively. The three-way inter-observer TEM and %TEM for craniometric variables was 2.6 mm and 2.26%, respectively. Variables that yielded high error rates were orbital height, orbital breadth, inter-orbital breadth and parietal chord. Overall, minimal differences were found among the data sources and high accuracy was noted between the observers, which prove CT images are an acceptable source to collect osteometric variables.

Keywords:measurement error, technical error of measurement, Bland–Altman, Percent differences, Accuracy, Reliability, Forensic Anthropology, skeletal measurements, NotOAChecked
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B820 Radiology
L Social studies > L620 Physical and Biological Anthropology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:15364
Deposited On:09 Oct 2014 08:30

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