Faster magnetic resonance imaging in emergency room patients with right lower quadrant pain and suspected acute appendicitis
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Publication date: 2018-07-09
Pol J Radiol, 2018; 83: 340-347
Emergency Departments (ED) are becoming busier, with a resultant increase in the number of imaging referrals. The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of an abbreviated two sequence magnetic resonance (MR) protocol for evaluating ED patients with right lower quadrant pain and suspected acute appendicitis, with a view to expediting patient turnaround times and imaging costs.

Material and methods:
Fifty patients (49 females, one male; mean age 25.4 ± 5.2 years) who underwent ED MR imaging from July 2014 to March 2015 for right lower quadrant pain were retrospectively reviewed. MR abdomen/pelvis was performed on 1.5 T MR obtaining axial T1 gradient echo in/out of phase, transverse fast spin echo T2 with fat sat/motion correction, axial/coronal T2 HASTE (half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo), and axial DWI (diffusion-weighted imaging) sequences. Images were reviewed by two fellowship-trained radiologists on a five-point confidence scale. Mean acquisition/interpretation times for the standard departmental protocol and the proposed abbreviated MR protocol (comprising T2 HASTE and DWI images) were calculated. Sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy for the abbreviated protocol against the full protocol were also calculated.

Mean scanning time for abbreviated protocol and standard protocol was calculated to be 21.1 minutes and 40.5 minutes, respectively. Mean interpretation time for abbreviated protocol for reader one and two was 4.1 ± 1.5 minutes and 4.5 ± 1.4 minutes, respectively, and for standard protocol was 8.1 ± 1.8 minutes and 7.1 ± 1.4 minutes, respectively. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy for the FAST protocol were calculated to be 100% each for reader one and 75%, 100%, and 94%, respectively, for reader two.

The proposed abbreviated MR protocol has comparable diagnostic accuracy in diagnosing ED patients with right lower quadrant pain, with significant reduction in imaging/interpretation times. It thus has the potential to be implemented in ED imaging with significant reduction in patient turnaround times and costs.

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