The practical limits of high-quality magnetic resonance imaging for the diagnosis and classification of trigeminal neuralgia

David P. Darrow, Kellen L Mulford, Coridon J Quinn, Anthony D Spano, Donald R. Nixdorf, Andrew Grande, Alexander M McKinney, Stephen J. Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Neurovascular compression (NVC) has been the primary hypothesis for the underlying mechanism of classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN). However, a substantial body of literature has emerged highlighting notable exceptions to this hypothesis. The purpose of this study is to assess the reliability and diagnostic accuracy of high resolution, high contrast MRI-determined neurovascular contact for TN. Methods: We performed a retrospective, randomized, and blinded parallel characterization of neurovascular interaction and diagnosis in a population of TN patients and controls using four expert reviewers. Performance statistics were calculated, as well as assessments for generalizability using shuffled bootstraps. Results: Fair to moderate agreement (ICC: 0.32–0.68) about diagnosis between reviewers was observed using MRIs from 47 TN patients and 47 controls. On average reviewers performed no better than chance when diagnosing participants, with an accuracy of 0.57 (95% CI 0.40, 0.59) per patient. Conclusion: While MRI is useful in determining structural causes in secondary TN, expert reviewers do no better to only slightly better than chance with distinguishing TN with MRI, despite moderate agreement. Further, the causal role of NVC for TN is not clear, limiting the applicability of MRI to diagnose or prognosticate treatment of TN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107403
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Volume221
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Diagnosis
  • MRI
  • Neurovascular compression
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

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