Background/Purpose: Patients with neurologic complaints are imaged with MRI protocols that may include many pulse sequences. It has not been documented which sequences are essential. We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of a limited number of sequences in patients with new neurologic complaints.
Methods: 996 consecutive brain MRI studies from patients with new neurological complaints were divided into 2 groups. In group 1, reviewers used a 3-sequence set that included sagittal T1-weighted, axial T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, and axial diffusion-weighted images. Subsequently, another group of studies were reviewed using axial susceptibility-weighted images in addition to the 3 sequences. The reference standard was the study's official report. Discrepancies between the limited sequence review and the reference standard including Level I findings (that may require immediate change in patient management) were identified.
Results: There were 84 major findings in 497 studies in group 1 with 21 not identified in the limited sequence evaluations: 12 enhancing lesions and 3 vascular abnormalities identified on MR angiography. The 3-sequence set did not reveal microhemorrhagic foci in 15 of 19 studies. There were 117 major findings in 499 studies in group 2 with 19 not identified on the 4-sequence set: 17 enhancing lesions and 2 vascular lesions identified on angiography. All 87 Level I findings were identified using limited sequence (56 acute infarcts, 16 hemorrhages, and 15 mass lesions).
Conclusion: A 4-pulse sequence brain MRI study is sufficient to evaluate patients with a new neurological complaint except when contrast or angiography is indicated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)