A retrospective evaluation of supine pelvic radiography image quality using centring points and anatomical axial rotation, including reliability of measurements (ARLEX-P STUDY)

F. E. Mellor, L. Smith, A. England, B. Snaith, P. Cosson

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Abstract

Introduction
Pelvic radiographs are commonly used for the investigation of a variety of conditions. Comparison between examinations requires a consistent radiographic technique but variations in image quality and radiographic centring points are frequently reported in the literature. The aim of this study was to establish the amount of variation in the radiographic centring point (RCP) and pelvic axial rotation (PAR), with a secondary aim of reporting the reliability of such measures.

Methods
Using a previously acquired imaging archive, 633 adult pelvis/hip radiographs were identified on a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). Radiographs with bilateral prostheses, evidence of acute pelvic trauma, projections acquired on a stretcher/trolley and those demonstrating large discontinuity between the detector and X-ray field centre were excluded. To determine centring point variation (+ values denote superior variations) and axial rotation multiple measurements were obtained from each radiograph. A video was used to train five observers and each of these reviewed ten random cases to determine inter- and intra-rater reliability. One of the five observers then performed the measurements on all remaining radiographs.

Results
Following exclusions 380 radiographs were evaluated. The median (IQR) RCP deviation from the inter-acetabular line was +22 (+2 to +43) mm where both iliac crests were present and −29 (−45 to −12) mm where they were not. Eleven (3%) cases demonstrate RCP variation from the midline of greater than 25 mm (no bias towards the left or right side). The median (IQR) PAR was 0.0 (−1.5 to 1.4) degrees with greater variance in PAR for male participants (p = 0.004). Almost 60% of inter-rater ICC measurements were categorised as excellent, good or moderate.

Conclusion
Variations in RCP and PAR exist when evaluating a sample of routinely acquired pelvis radiographs. Some initial factors, such as sex and sub-examination type (full pelvis [XPEL] or low centred pelvis [XHIPB]) have been identified as having a statistical affect on variability. Further research and methods to standardise radiographic techniques is required and must be multidimensional in nature.

Implications for practice
Selection of radiographic technique, including RCP, appears to influence components of the pelvis radiograph. Given the increasing clinical requirements for pelvic radiography further standardisation alongside individual optimisation is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-949
Number of pages9
JournalRadiography
Volume29
Issue number5
Early online date31 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

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