Clinical outcomes of magnetic resonance imaging in blunt cervical trauma

M P Labattaglia, Peter A Cameron, Mark Santamaria, Dinesh Kumar Varma, Kevin W Thomson, Michael John Bailey, Thomas K Kossmann

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7 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether MRI of the cervical spine resulted in a change in management of patients with blunt trauma and normal plain X-ray (XR)/CT of the cervical spine. METHODS: An explicit chart review was conducted of patients seen at a Level 1 trauma centre over a 1 year period. Clinical details were extracted from the charts of patients with blunt trauma who had a normal plain XR and CT scan of the cervical spine and who underwent cervical spine MRI. A comparison of clinical details was made between those with a normal/abnormal MRI secondary to the acute injury. RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-four patients met entry criteria. Discharge non-operative management of the cervical spine was associated with a change in management by the MRI result (P <0.0001) where MRI of the cervical spine occurred a median of 3 days (interquartile range 0-4.5, range 0-137) after the injury. The MRI occurred before discharge 90 of the time in both groups. Operative management occurred in three patients and was delayed until after first outpatient review in two patients. CONCLUSIONS: An abnormal MRI after normal plain XR and CT cervical spine studies resulted in a change in non-operative management at discharge. Early MRI resulted in one patient receiving surgery before discharge. No unstable injuries were detected by MRI that were not evident on plain XR or CT cervical spine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253 - 261
Number of pages9
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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