Purpose To determine the utility of cervical spine MRI in blunt trauma evaluation for instability after a negative non-contrast cervical spine CT. Methods A review of medical records identified all adult patients with blunt trauma who underwent CT cervical spine followed by MRI within 48 h over a 33-month period. Utility of subsequent MRI was assessed in terms of findings and impact on outcome. Results A total of 1,271 patients with blunt cervical spine trauma underwent both cervical spine CT and MRI within 48 h; 1,080 patients were included in the study analysis. Sixty-six percent of patients with a CT cervical spine study had a negative study. Of these, the subsequent cervical spine MRI had positive findings in 20.9%; 92.6% had stable ligamentous or osseous injuries, 6.0% had unstable injuries and 1.3% had potentially unstable injuries. For unstable injury, the NPV for CT was 98.5%. In all 712 patients undergoing both CT and MRI, only 1.5% had unstable injuries, and only 0.42% had significant change in management. Conclusions MRI for blunt trauma evaluation remains not infrequent at our institution. MRI may have utility only in certain patients with persistent abnormal neurological examination. Key Points � MRI has limited utility
European Radiology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 15, 2018
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