Fast-brain MRI in children is quick, without sedation, and radiation-free, but beware of limitations

J Clin Neurosci. 2013 Mar;20(3):400-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2012.02.048. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Fast-brain MRI is a promising technique for young children who require anesthesia for conventional MRI; however, poor contrast resolution and the use of one type of pulse sequence only has limitations. We aimed to review and document pitfalls of fast-brain MRI in non-sedated children. Fifty fast-brain MRI studies (Fast Imaging Employing sTeady State Acquistion [FIESTA] protocol; 1.5-Tesla Signa Excite HD, GE HealthCare, Milwaukee, WI, USA) performed between January 2008 and August 2010 in 30 non-sedated patients aged 1 day to 5 years of age (mean: 18 months) were reviewed retrospectively and compared to the most recent MRI or CT scan. The indications were: ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt insertion or revision or follow-up (20/50, 40%), postoperative follow-up (9/50, 18%), macrocephaly, ventriculomegaly or congenital malformation (15/50, 30%), complications of prematurity (6/50, 12%). The VP shunt position and size of fluid-filled structures were satisfactorily assessed in all patients. Undetected findings in 7/50 studies (14%) were: venous sinus thrombosis (one patient), subdural hematoma (three), failure to differentiate blood products (two), and limited evaluation of extra-axial collections (one). FIESTA fast-brain MRI provides satisfactory assessment of shunt position and the size of fluid-filled structures, but radiologists should be aware of limitations for depiction of venous sinus thrombosis, and bleeding. Modification of fast-brain protocols appears to be indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt*