Rapid brain MRI protocols reduce head computerized tomography use in the pediatric emergency department

  • Sriram Ramgopal (Contributor)
  • Sabrina A. Karim (Creator)
  • Subramanian Subramanian (Creator)
  • Andre D. Furtado (Creator)
  • Jennifer R. Marin (Creator)



Abstract Background Rapid magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocols may be effective in the emergency department (ED) to evaluate nontraumatic neurologic complaints. We evaluate neuroimaging (rapid MRI [rMRI]), head computerized tomography [HCT], and full MRI) use following widespread implementation of rMRI protocols in a pediatric emergency department (ED). Methods We conducted a retrospective study in a tertiary care pediatric ED of encounters with neuroimaging during two 9-month periods: one prior to (control period) and one after generalized availability of 4 rMRI protocols (rMRI period). The primary outcome was differences in neuroimaging rates between the two periods. Secondary outcomes included ED process measures, unsuccessful imaging, and undetected pathology, with full MRI within 14 days as the reference standard. Results There were 1052 encounters with neuroimaging during the control and 1308 during the rMRI periods. Differences in neuroimaging between periods were 27.7% for rMRI (95% CI, 24.4, 31.0), − 21.5% for HCT (95% CI, − 25.5, − 17.5), and − 6.2% for full MRI (95% CI, − 9.3, − 3.1%.) Time to imaging (182 [IQR 138–255] versus 86 [IQR 52–137] minutes) as well as ED length of stay (396 [IQR 304–484] versus 257 [IQR 196–334] minutes) was longer for rMRI versus HCT (p
Date made available2020

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