Publications by authors named "Claus Nowak"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Intra-scanner repeatability of quantitative imaging features in a 3D printed semi-anthropomorphic CT phantom.

Eur J Radiol 2021 Aug 9;141:109818. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

Objectives: Radiomics has shown to provide novel diagnostic and predictive disease information based on quantitative image features in study settings. However, limited data yielded contradictory results and important questions regarding the validity of the methods remain to be answered. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how clinical imaging techniques affect the stability of radiomics features by using 3D printed anthropomorphic CT phantom to test for repeatability and reproducibility of quantitative parameters.

Methods: 48 PET/CT validated lymph nodes of prostate cancer patients (24 metastatic, 24 non-metastatic) were used as a template to create a customized 3D printed anthropomorphic phantom. We subsequently scanned the phantom five times with a routine abdominal CT protocol. Images were reconstructed using iterative reconstruction and two soft tissue kernels and one bone kernel. Radiomics features were extracted and assessed for repeatability and susceptibility towards image reconstruction settings using concordance correlation coefficients.

Results: Our analysis revealed 19 of 86 features (22 %) as highly repeatable (CCC ≥ 0.85) with low susceptibility towards image reconstruction protocols. Most features analyzed depicted critical non-repeatability with CCC's < 0.75 even under entirely consistent imaging acquisition settings. Edge enhancing kernels result in higher variances between the scans and differences in repeatability and reproducibility were detected between PSMA-positive and negative lymph nodes with overall more stable features seen in tumor positive lymph nodes.

Conclusions: Both, repeatability and reproducibility play a crucial role in the validation process of radiomics features in clinical routine. This phantom study shows that most radiomics features in contrast to previous studies, including phantom and clinical, do not depict sufficient intra-scanner repeatability to serve as reliable diagnostic tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2021.109818DOI Listing
August 2021

Plasma calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in migraine and endometriosis during the menstrual cycle.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2021 06 2;8(6):1251-1259. Epub 2021 May 2.

Department of Neurology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Objective: Migraine, endometriosis, and the comorbidity of both are frequent pain disorders of special relevance for women. The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is critically involved in migraine, and circumstantial evidence suggests a role in endometriosis. We assessed CGRP levels at different times of menstrual cycle in four groups: healthy women, women with migraine or endometriosis and with the comorbidity of both.

Methods: Women with episodic migraine and women with a histologically confirmed endometriosis were recruited from specialized centers. For CGRP determination with a commercial enzyme immunoassay kit, cubital vein blood samples were collected on menstrual cycle day 2 ± 2 (during menstruation) and on day 15 ± 2 (periovulatory period). The primary endpoint of the study was the absolute difference of CGRP plasma levels between the menstrual and the periovulatory phase of all study groups. Groups were compared using nonparametric test procedures.

Results: A total of 124 women were included in the study. The change of CGRP plasma levels between menstruation and the periovulatory period was different between groups (p = 0.007). Women with comorbid migraine and endometriosis showed an increase of CGRP in the menstrual phase of +6.32 (interquartile range, IQR -3.64-13.60) compared to the periovulatory time, while healthy controls had a decrease of -10.14 (-22.54-0.91, p = 0.004). CGRP levels were different in the periovulatory phase among groups (p = 0.008), with highest values in healthy controls.

Interpretation: CGRP levels change significantly during the menstrual cycle. Different patterns in women with the comorbidity point to a deviant regulation of CGRP release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8164854PMC
June 2021

Cool enough? Lessons learned from cryoballoon-guided catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation in young adults.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2020 11 25;31(11):2857-2864. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Clinic for Electrophysiology, Herz- und Diabeteszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.

Introduction: Cryoballoon (CB)-guided ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) is established in symptomatic AF patients. This study sought to determine the safety and efficacy of CB pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) in young adults.

Methods And Results: A total of 93 consecutive patients aged <45 years referred to our center for AF ablation were included in this observational study. All patients received CB-guided PVI according to a standardized institutional protocol. Follow-up was performed in our outpatient clinic using 72-h Holter monitoring and periodic telephone interview. Recurrence was defined as any AF/atrial tachycardia (AT) episode >30 s following a 3-month blanking period. A propensity matched control group consisting of patients older than 45 years were used for further evaluation. Mean age was 35 ± 7 years, 22% suffered from persistent AF, 85% were male. Mean follow-up was 2.6 ± 2 years. At the end of the observational period, 83% of patients were free of any AF/AT episodes. There was an excellent overall 12-month success rate of 92%. In comparison to a matched group the overall recurrence rate was noticeably lower in the young group (15% vs. 27%). Increasing age was associated with a hazard ratio of 1.16 for recurrence. In a multivariate analysis model, left atrial diameter remained as significant predictor of AF/AT recurrence. The complication rate was low, no permanent phrenic nerve palsy was observed.

Conclusion: CB-guided PVI in young adults is safe and effective with favorable long-term results. It may be considered as first-line therapy in this relatively healthy population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.14717DOI Listing
November 2020

Fingolimod after a first unilateral episode of acute optic neuritis (MOVING) - preliminary results from a randomized, rater-blind, active-controlled, phase 2 trial.

BMC Neurol 2020 Mar 3;20(1):75. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Department of Neurology, Alexianer St. Josefs-Krankenhaus Potsdam, Allee nach Sanssouci 7, 14471, Potsdam, Germany.

Background: Neuroprotection and promotion of remyelination represent important therapeutic gaps in multiple sclerosis (MS). Acute optic neuritis (ON) is a frequent MS manifestation. Based on the presence and properties of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors (S1PR) on astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, we hypothesized that remyelination can be enhanced by treatment with fingolimod, a S1PR modulator currently licensed for relapsing-remitting MS.

Methods: MOVING was an investigator-driven, rater-blind, randomized clinical trial. Patients with acute unilateral ON, occurring as a clinically isolated syndrome or MS relapse, were randomized to 6 months of treatment with 0.5 mg oral fingolimod or subcutaneous IFN-β 1b 250 μg every other day. The change in multifocal visual evoked potential (mfVEP) latency of the qualifying eye was examined as the primary (month 6 vs. baseline) and secondary (months 3, 6 and 12 vs. baseline) outcome. In addition, full field visual evoked potentials, visual acuity, optical coherence tomography as well as clinical relapses and measures of disability, cerebral MRI, and self-reported visual quality of life were obtained for follow-up. The study was halted due to insufficient recruitment (n = 15), and available results are reported.

Results: Per protocol analysis of the primary endpoint revealed a significantly larger reduction of mfVEP latency at 6 months compared to baseline with fingolimod treatment (n = 5; median decrease, 15.7 ms) than with IFN-β 1b treatment (n = 4; median increase, 8.15 ms) (p <  0.001 for interaction). Statistical significance was maintained in the secondary endpoint analysis. Descriptive results are reported for other endpoints.

Conclusion: Preliminary results of the MOVING trial argue in support of a beneficial effect of fingolimod on optic nerve remyelination when compared to IFN-β treatment. Interpretation is limited by the small number of complete observations, an unexpected deterioration of the control group and a difference in baseline mfVEP latencies. The findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.

Trial Registration: The trial was registered as EUDRA-CT 2011-004787-30 on October 26, 2012 and as NCT01647880 on July 24, 2012.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-020-01645-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7052969PMC
March 2020

Clinical decision-making on spinal cord injury-associated pneumonia: a nationwide survey in Germany.

Spinal Cord 2020 Aug 18;58(8):873-881. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany.

Study Design: Survey study.

Objectives: Spinal cord injury (SCI)-associated pneumonia (SCI-AP) is associated with poor functional recovery and a major cause of death after SCI. Better tackling SCI-AP requires a common understanding on how SCI-AP is defined. This survey examines clinical algorithms relevant for diagnosis and treatment of SCI-AP.

Setting: All departments for SCI-care in Germany.

Methods: The clinical decision-making on SCI-AP and the utility of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for diagnosis of 'clinically defined pneumonia' were assessed by means of a standardized questionnaire including eight case vignettes of suspected SCI-AP. The diagnostic decisions based on the case information were analysed using classification and regression trees (CART).

Results: The majority of responding departments were aware of the CDC-criteria (88%). In the clinical vignettes, 38-81% of the departments diagnosed SCI-AP in accordance with the CDC-criteria and 7-41% diagnosed SCI-AP in deviation from the CDC-criteria. The diagnostic agreement was not associated with the availability of standard operating procedures for SCI-AP management in the departments. CART analysis identified radiological findings, fever, and worsened gas exchange as most important for the decision on SCI-AP. Frequently requested supplementary diagnostics were microbiological analyses, C-reactive protein, and procalcitonin. For empirical antibiotic therapy, the departments used (acyl-)aminopenicillins/β-lactamase inhibitors, cephalosporins, or combinations of (acyl-)aminopenicillins/β-lactamase inhibitors with fluoroquinolones or carbapenems.

Conclusions: This survey reveals a diagnostic ambiguity regarding SCI-AP despite the awareness of CDC-criteria and established SOPs. Heterogeneous clinical practice is encouraging the development of disease-specific guidelines for diagnosis and management of SCI-AP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41393-020-0435-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223654PMC
August 2020
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