An audit of clinical practice, referral patterns, and appropriateness of clinical indications for brain MRI examinations: A single-centre study in Ghana

A D Piersson, G Nunoo, P N Gorleku
Radiography 2018, 24 (2): e25-e30

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to investigate current brain MRI practice, pattern of brain MRI requests, and their appropriateness using the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We used direct observation and questionnaires to obtain data concerning routine brain MRI practice. We then retrospectively analyzed (i) demographic characteristics, (ii) clinical history, and (iii) appropriateness of brain MRI requests against published criteria.

RESULTS: All patients were administered the screening questionnaire; however, no reviews were undertaken directly with patients, and no signature of the radiographer was recorded. Apart from routine brain protocol, there were dedicated protocols for epilepsy and stroke. Brain MRI images from 161 patients (85 Males; 76 Females) were analyzed. The age group with most brain MRI requests were from 26 to 45 year olds. The commonest four clinical indications for imaging were brain tumour, headache, seizure, and stroke. Using the ACR Appropriateness Criteria, almost 43% of the brain MRI scans analyzed were found to be "usually appropriate", 38% were "maybe appropriate" and 19% were categorized as "usually not appropriate".

CONCLUSION: There was knowledge gap with regards to MRI safety in local practice, thus there is the utmost need for MRI safety training. Data on the commonest indications for performing brain MRI in this study should be used to inform local neuroradiological practice. Dedicated stroke and epilepsy MRI protocols require additional sequences i.e. MRA and 3D T1 volume acquisition, respectively. The ACR Appropriateness Criteria is recommended for use by the referring practitioners to improve appropriateness of brain MRI requests.

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