There is growing acceptance that polycystic ovaries are an important marker of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) despite significant variability when making the ultrasound diagnosis. To better understand the nature of this variability, we proposed to evaluate the level of inter-observer agreement when identifying and quantifying individual ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries.
Digital recordings of transvaginal ultrasound scans performed in thirty women with PCOS were assessed by four observers with training in Radiology or Reproductive Endocrinology. Observers evaluated the scans for: 1) total follicle count, 2) largest follicle diameter, 3) ovarian volume, 4) follicle distribution pattern and 5) presence of a corpus luteum (CL). Lin’s concordance correlation coefficients and kappa statistics for multiple raters were used to assess inter-observer agreement.
Agreement between observers ranged from 0.08 to 0.63 for follicle counts, 0.27 to 0.88 for largest follicle diameter, 0.63 to 0.86 for ovarian volume, 0.51 to 0.76 for follicle distribution pattern and 0.76 to 0.90 for presence of a CL. Overall, reproductive endocrinologists demonstrated better agreement when evaluating ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries compared to radiologists (0.71 versus 0.53; p=0.04).
Inter-observer agreement for assessing ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries was moderate to poor. These findings support the need for standardized training modules to characterize polycystic ovarian morphology on ultrasonography.