J. Ohayon

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Neuroimmunology Clinic

Author Of 1 Presentation

Imaging Oral Presentation

PS11.05 - Inclusion of small ovoid lesions in central vein sign assessment improves sensitivity for multiple sclerosis

Presentation Number
Presentation Topic
Lecture Time
10:09 - 10:21



The ‘central vein sign’ (CVS) is increasingly recognized as a valuable biomarker with high specificity and sensitivity for multiple sclerosis (MS) MRI lesions. Current consensus North American Imaging in Multiple Sclerosis (NAIMS) guidelines recommend excluding lesions <3mm in diameter in any plane for CVS assessment. However, different lesion-size exclusion cut-offs for CVS have not been systematically evaluated.


To evaluate the impact of different lesion size cut-offs and exclusion methodologies on CVS analysis and select3* criteria for MS diagnosis.


MS patients and non-MS controls were recruited as part of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke MS natural history study and underwent 3T MRI on either Siemens Skyra or Philips Achieva scanners. MS lesions were segmented using a deep learning-based method and manually corrected by a single rater. Individual lesions were extracted as clusters of connected voxels, and their principal axes lengths (calculated as the lengths of the major axes of an ellipsoid with the same normalized second central moments) were used to measure lesion size in 3 dimensions. Ground truth CVS assessment was conducted by two raters on all lesions regardless of size. Two paradigms of lesion exclusion were compared: (1) excluding lesions if any dimension was less than threshold (ExcAny), or (2) if all dimensions were less than threshold (ExcAll).


A total of 3920 lesions from 71 subjects (8 healthy controls, 36 RRMS, 12 SPMS, 14 PPMS, 1 CIS) were included in the analysis. CVS+ lesions were more likely to be ovoid and less spherical compared to their CVS- counterparts, as measured by the fractional anisotropy of lesion dimensions (mean difference 0.02, p=0.001). Of the 1679 CVS+ lesions in the cohort, 82% met the ExcAny criteria to be excluded at a 3mm cut-off, which was reduced to 29% when ExcAll criteria were used (McNemar test, p < 0.001). At the subject-level, an increase in the sensitivity of select3* CVS criteria for MS diagnosis was noted at 3mm using the less strict ExcAll (95%) compared to the more conservative ExcAny criteria (61%), without impacting specificity (100% for both methods). There was a reduction in specificity for both ExcAny and ExcAll criteria when size cut-offs less than or equal to 2mm were used (88% for both).


Compared to the current NAIMS guidelines, ExcAll criteria for CVS lesion analysis allow the inclusion of a larger proportion of CVS+ lesions and improve the sensitivity of select3* criteria for MS diagnosis. These findings improve the applicability of the CVS as a diagnostic marker for MS in clinical practice and provide evidence for future modifications of CVS lesion exclusion guidelines.