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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence, Clinical Management, and Natural Course of Incidental Findings on Brain MR Images: The Population-based Rotterdam Scan Study

Daniel Bos, Marielle M F Poels, Hieab H H Adams, Saloua Akoudad, Lotte G M Cremers, Hazel I Zonneveld, Yoo Y Hoogendam, Benjamin F J Verhaaren, Vincent J A Verlinden, Jasper G J Verbruggen, Abbas Peymani, Albert Hofman, Gabriel P Krestin, Arnaud J Vincent, Richard A Feelders, Peter J Koudstaal, Aad van der Lugt, M Arfan Ikram, Meike W Vernooij
Radiology 2016, 281 (2): 507-515
27337027
Purpose To present an updated prevalence estimate for incidental findings on brain magnetic resonance (MR) images and provide information on clinical relevance, including natural course, over a period of up to 9 years. Materials and Methods This study was approved by the institutional review board and all participants gave informed consent. In a prospective population-based setting, structural brain MR imaging was performed in 5800 participants (mean age, 64.9 years; 3194 women [55.1%]). Trained reviewers recorded abnormalities, which were subsequently evaluated by neuroradiologists. The prevalence with 95% confidence interval (CI) of incidental findings was determined, and clinical management of findings that required the attention of a medical specialist was followed. Follow-up imaging in the study context provided information on the natural course of findings that were not referred. Results In 549 of 5800 participants (9.5% [95% CI: 8.7%, 10.3%]), incidental findings were found, of which meningiomas (143 of 5800; 2.5% [95% CI: 2.1%, 2.9%]) and cerebral aneurysms (134 of 5800; 2.3% [95% CI: 2.0%, 2.7%]) were most common. A total of 188 participants were referred to medical specialists for incidental findings (3.2% [95% CI: 2.8%, 3.7%]). Of these, 144 (76.6% [95% CI: 70.1%, 82.1%]) either underwent a wait-and-see policy or were discharged after the initial clinical visit. The majority of meningiomas and virtually all aneurysms not referred or referred but untreated remained stable in size during follow-up. Conclusion Incidental findings at brain MR imaging that necessitate further diagnostic evaluation occur in over 3% of the general middle-aged and elderly population, but are mostly without direct clinical consequences. © RSNA, 2016.

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