To assess interobserver reliability between two central readers of cranial ultrasound (CUS) and accuracy of local compared with central interpretations.
A retrospective analysis of CUS data from the NICHD trial of inhaled nitric oxide for premature infants. Interobserver reliability of two central readers was assessed by kappa or weighted kappa. Accuracy of local compared with central interpretations was assessed by sensitivity and specificity.
Cranial US from 326 infants had both central reader and local interpretations. Central reader agreement for grade 3/4 IVH, grade 3/4 IVH or PVL, grade of IVH, and degree of ventriculomegaly was very good (kappa=0.84, 0.81, 0.79, and 0.75, respectively). Agreement was poor for lower grade IVH and for PVL alone. Local interpretations were highly accurate for grade 3/4 IVH or PVL (sensitivity 87–90%, specificity 92–93%), but sensitivity was poor to fair for grade 1/2 IVH (48–68%) and PVL (20–44%).
Our findings demonstrate reliability and accuracy of highly unfavorable CUS findings, but suggest caution when interpreting mild to moderate IVH or white matter injury.