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In Abdominal radiology (New York)

PURPOSE : To determine if ancillary sonographic and Doppler parameters can be used to predict transplant renal artery stenosis in patients with renal graft dysfunction.

MATERIALS AND METHODS : IRB-approved, HIPAA-compliant retrospective study included 80 renal transplant patients who had renal US followed by renal angiogram between January 2018 and December 2019. A consensus read of two radiologists recorded these parameters: peak systolic velocity, persistence of elevated velocity, grayscale narrowing, parvus tardus, delayed systolic upstroke, angle of the systolic peak (SP angle), and aliasing. Univariate analysis using t-test or chi-square was performed to determine differences between patients with and without stenosis. P values under 0.05 were deemed statistically significant. We used machine learning algorithms to determine parameters that could better predict the presence of stenosis. The algorithms included logistic regression, random forest, imbalanced random forest, boosting, and CART. All 80 cases were split between training and testing using stratified sampling using a 75:25 split.

RESULTS : We found a statistically significant difference in grayscale narrowing (p = 0.0010), delayed systolic upstroke (p = 0.0002), SP angle (p = 0.0005), and aliasing (p = 0.0024) between the two groups. No significant difference was found for an elevated peak systolic velocity (p = 0.1684). The imbalanced random forest (IRF) model was selected for improved accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. Specificity, sensitivity, AUC, and normalized Brier score for the IRF model using all parameters were 73%, 81%, 0.82, and 69 in the training set, and 78%, 58%, 0.78, and 80 in the testing set. VIMP assessment showed that the combination of variables that resulted in the most significant change of the training set performance was that of grayscale narrowing and SP angle.

CONCLUSION : Elevated peak systolic velocity did not discriminate between patients with and without TRAS. Adding ancillary parameters into the machine learning algorithm improved specificity and sensitivity similarly in the training and testing sets. The algorithm identified the combination of lumen narrowing coupled with the angle of the systolic peak as better predictor of TRAS. This model may improve the accuracy of ultrasound for transplant renal artery stenosis.

Blain Yamile, Alessandrino Francesco, Scortegagna Eduardo, Balcacer Patricia


Doppler ultrasound, Machine learning, Renal transplant, Transplant renal artery stenosis