Objective: Evaluation of the diagnostic efficacy and interobserver agreement of Q-elastography in the differentiation of benign from malignant thyroid nodules. Methods: A total of 344 thyroid nodules in 288 patients were examined with grey-scale and colour Doppler ultrasound (CDUS) and Q-elastography by two independent operators. Nodules with hypoechogenicity, poorly defined margins, microcalcifications, and intralesional vascularity were classified as suspicious. Diagnostic performances of CDUS features and Q-elastography for predicting thyroid malignancy were estimated using ROC analysis. Cytology or histopathology was the reference standard. Interobserver agreement in the evaluation of CDUS and Qelastography was assessed using Cohen's k-statistic. Results: Q-elastography showed excellent diagnostic performance for the prediction of thyroid malignancy, with sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 92% for operator 1 (best cutoff at 2.02), and sensitivity of 84%and specificity of 79%for operator 2 (best cutoff at 1.86). Performance of Q-elastography was superior to that of CDUS. Reproducibility of the findings was excellent for both Q-elastography and CDUS features as assessed with Cohen's k, which was highest for strain ratio measurements (0.95) and lowest for the echogenicity score (0.83). Conclusions: Q-elastography showed excellent performance. It is a valid and reproducible diagnostic method as well as a promising tool for identifying suspicious solid thyroid nodules needing cytological assessment and surgery. Key Points: • Elastography is an additional tool for optimal characterisation of malignant thyroid nodules. • The use of semiquantitative elastographic evaluation increases the diagnostic performance, • The interobserver agreement of quantitative elastography can be considered to be good.
- Interobserver variability
- Thyroid nodules
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging