Detection of pediatric musculoskeletal pathology using the fluid-sensitive sequence
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Musculoskeletal complaints are common among children, and magnetic resonance (MR) is increasingly used to supplement the clinical assessment. The validation of a short triage protocol could reduce the number of unnecessary contrast-enhanced MR studies that sometimes also require the need for sedation.
To compare the diagnostic accuracy between fluid-sensitive sequence and contrast-enhanced MR study in the detection of musculoskeletal pathology in the pelvis and the appendicular skeleton in children older than 2 years.
Materials and methods
We performed a retrospective review between Feb. 1, 2016, and Oct. 31, 2016, and identified 99 studies from 96 patients (48 boys and 48 girls; mean age ± standard deviation, 11.1±4.6 years) without syndromic deformity, recent trauma, a history of infectious or inflammatory arthropathy, prior instrumentation or incomplete records. Two radiologists reviewed each study twice, at least 1 month apart, first using only the fluid-sensitive sequences (triage study) and later using the contrast-enhanced study. Readers rated the presence or absence of pathology independently and generated final impressions in consensus. We used Cohen’s kappa (κ) and percentage agreement to compare agreement between readers and between studies, respectively.
Inter-reader agreement was overall higher for the contrast-enhanced studies (κ range = 0.91–1) than for the triage studies (κ range = 0.49–1). Percentage agreement between studies was high for the detection of pathology (97–100%) and for the impressions (93%). Clinical diagnoses were stress reaction or overuse in 31%, infection in 21%, space-occupying process in 17%, normal in 15%, inflammatory in 14%, and both inflammatory and overuse in 1%. The full study increased diagnostic confidence in five studies and accuracy in two but did not alter management.
The fluid-sensitive sequence had a near-perfect percentage of agreement with the contrast-enhanced study in the detection of musculoskeletal pathology and could possibly be used to screen children who need a contrast-enhanced MR study.
KeywordsChildren Contrast agent Magnetic resonance imaging Musculoskeletal Screening
Findings were presented as an oral scientific paper at the Radiological Society of North America 2017 meeting in Chicago, IL.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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