Accurately Diagnosing Uric Acid Stones from Conventional Computerized Tomography Imaging: Development and Preliminary Assessment of a Pixel Mapping Software

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Abstract

Purpose:

Preoperative determination of uric acid stones from computerized tomography imaging would be of tremendous clinical use. We sought to design a software algorithm that could apply data from noncontrast computerized tomography to predict the presence of uric acid stones.

Materials and Methods:

Patients with pure uric acid and calcium oxalate stones were identified from our stone registry. Only stones greater than 4 mm which were clearly traceable from initial computerized tomography to final composition were included in analysis. A semiautomated computer algorithm was used to process image data. Average and maximum HU, eccentricity (deviation from a circle) and kurtosis (peakedness vs flatness) were automatically generated. These parameters were examined in several mathematical models to predict the presence of uric acid stones.

Results:

A total of 100 patients, of whom 52 had calcium oxalate and 48 had uric acid stones, were included in the final analysis. Uric acid stones were significantly larger (12.2 vs 9.0 mm, p = 0.03) but calcium oxalate stones had higher mean attenuation (457 vs 315 HU, p = 0.001) and maximum attenuation (918 vs 553 HU, p <0.001). Kurtosis was significantly higher in each axis for calcium oxalate stones (each p <0.001). A composite algorithm using attenuation distribution pattern, average attenuation and stone size had overall 89% sensitivity, 91% specificity, 91% positive predictive value and 89% negative predictive value to predict uric acid stones.

Conclusions:

A combination of stone size, attenuation intensity and attenuation pattern from conventional computerized tomography can distinguish uric acid stones from calcium oxalate stones with high sensitivity and specificity.

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