Current utilization and procedural practices in pediatric whole-body MRI
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Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an evolving and increasingly powerful imaging tool with a variety of applications in the pediatric patient population. Variability exists among radiology practices in how this MRI tool is used and how it is performed.
Our objective was to gain an improved understanding of technical and utilization practices in pediatric whole-body MRI across North America by exploring indications for exam performance, determining referral patterns, and assessing technical protocols and procedures.
Materials and methods
A 19-question survey was generated in Survey Monkey and distributed in 2016 to the Society for Pediatric Radiology membership. The survey asked questions that included practice type, imaging modality preferences for diseases commonly evaluated with whole-body MRI, MRI field strength and sequence selection, and billing practices.
Data were obtained from 62 unique responses to the survey, representing 471 physicians. The majority (93%) practice in an academic institution or private practice with academic affiliation and most practices have utilized whole-body MRI for less than 6 years. Whole-body MRI is performed in pediatric patients 0 to 18 years of age, and was the preferred imaging modality for diagnosis/staging/follow-up in neurofibromatosis, type 1 (75%), chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) (74%), cancer predisposition syndromes (75%), vasculopathies (50%) and disseminated/multifocal infection (49%). The most commonly utilized sequences are coronal short tau inversion recovery (STIR) (90%), coronal T1 with or without fat saturation (65%), and axial diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) (48%). No preference was shown for either 1.5-T or 3-T systems. Wide variability was seen in preference for billing code utilization, though the majority use chest/abdomen/pelvis (57%) or unlisted MRI (37%) codes.
Radiology practitioners – represented by the Society for Pediatric Radiology pediatric radiologists – are using whole-body MRI in the imaging care of pediatric patients for a variety of indications. Survey results reveal some variability in exam utilization and technical performance practices among those pediatric radiologists who perform whole-body MRI.
KeywordsChildren Magnetic resonance imaging Pediatric radiology Survey Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest