MRI Exam Delays Often Unrelated to Contrast Administration

Over 16 percent of MRI exams are delayed because of unanticipated events.

Unanticipated events associated with MRI examinations are common and are most often associated with patient-related issues unrelated to contrast administration, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and the University of Kentucky in Lexington sought to determine the prevalence of unanticipated events (UEs) associated with MRI examinations in a multi-center academic radiology department. The researchers gathered and retrospectively reviewed data of UEs from 34,587 MRI examinations reported by MRI technologists for examinations performed between June 2013 and November 2014. Eighty-seven percent of the exams were university affiliated. Of the total, 5,775 (16.7 percent) had UEs; 1.9 percent of patients had more than one category event. The researchers categorized events into one of six categories:  1. Problems with orders and scheduling; 2. Scan delays; 3. Unanticipated foreign bodies; 4. Non-contrast-related patient events (eg, patient motion, discomfort, claustrophobia, need for sedation); 5. Contrast-related patient events; and 6. Technical acquisition issues.  The results showed the most common UE involved non-contrast related patient events: UEs                                                                  RateOrders and scheduling.                                   1.9%Delays in scan                                                 3.3%Foreign bodies                                                 0.5%Non-contrast-related patient events                10.4%Contrast-related patient events                       1.3%Technical issues                                              1.5%  After adjustment for location of scanner, clinical setting, and timing of the scan, the rate of overall UE was significantly higher in university-affiliated sites, in scans performed in the mixed OP/IP setting, and in scans performed during weekends/holidays. The researchers concluded that UE associated with MRI examinations are common (16.7 percent), with the majority being patient-related issues unrelated to contrast administration.