Standardization and validation of a novel and simple method to assess lumbar dural sac size.

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To develop and validate a simple, reproducible method to assess dural sac size using standard imaging technology.This study was institutional review board-approved. Two readers, blinded to the diagnoses, measured anterior-posterior (AP) and transverse (TR) dural sac diameter (DSD), and AP vertebral body diameter (VBD) of the lumbar vertebrae using MRI images from 53 control patients with pre-existing MRI examinations, 19 prospectively MRI-imaged healthy controls, and 24 patients with Marfan syndrome with prior MRI or CT lumbar spine imaging. Statistical analysis utilized linear and logistic regression, Pearson correlation, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.AP-DSD and TR-DSD measurements were reproducible between two readers (r = 0.91 and 0.87, respectively). DSD (L1-L5) was not different between male and female controls in the AP or TR plane (p = 0.43; p = 0.40, respectively), and did not vary by age (p = 0.62; p = 0.25) or height (p = 0.64; p = 0.32). AP-VBD was greater in males versus females (p = 1.5 × 10(-8)), resulting in a smaller dural sac ratio (DSR) (DSD/VBD) in males (p = 5.8 × 10(-6)). Marfan patients had larger AP-DSDs and TR-DSDs than controls (p = 5.9 × 10(-9); p = 6.5 × 10(-9), respectively). Compared to DSR, AP-DSD and TR-DSD better discriminate Marfan from control subjects based on area under the curve (AUC) values from unadjusted ROCs (AP-DSD p < 0.01; TR-DSD p = 0.04).Individual vertebrae and L1-L5 (average) AP-DSD and TR-DSD measurements are simple, reliable, and reproducible for quantitating dural sac size without needing to control for gender, age, or height.





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Daniels, MLA, JR Lowe, P Roy, MV Patrone, JM Conyers, JP Fine, MR Knowles, KR Birchard, et al. (2015). Standardization and validation of a novel and simple method to assess lumbar dural sac size. Clinical radiology, 70(2). pp. 146–152. 10.1016/j.crad.2014.10.009 Retrieved from

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Jared Lowe

Adjunct Associate in the Department of Medicine

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