Clinical value of whole-body magnetic resonance imaging in health screening of general adult population

Radiol Oncol. 2015 Mar 3;49(1):10-6. doi: 10.2478/raon-2014-0031. eCollection 2015 Mar.


Background: Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) and angiography (WB-MRA) has become increasingly popular in population-based research. We evaluated retrospectively the frequency of potentially relevant incidental findings throughout the body.

Materials and methods: 22 highly health-conscious managers (18 men, mean age 47±9 years) underwent WB-MRI and WB-MRA between March 2012 and September 2013 on a Discovery MR750w wide bore 3 Tesla device (GE Healthcare) using T1 weighted, short tau inversion recovery (STIR) and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) acquisitions according to a standardized protocol.

Results: A suspicious (pararectal) malignancy was detected in one patient which was confirmed by an endorectal sonography. Incidental findings were described in 20 subjects, including hydrocele (11 patients), benign bony lesion (7 patients) and non-specific lymph nodes (5 patients). Further investigations were recommended in 68% (ultrasound: 36%, computed tomography: 28%, mammography: 9%, additional MRI: 9%). WB-MRA were negative in 16 subjects. Vascular normal variations were reported in 23%, and a 40% left proximal common carotid artery stenosis were described in one subject.

Conclusions: WB-MRI and MRA lead to the detection of clinically relevant diseases and unexpected findings in a cohort of healthy adults that require further imaging or surveillance in 68%. WB-MR imaging may play a paramount role in health screening, especially in the future generation of (epi)genetic based screening of malignant and atherosclerotic disorders. Our study is the first which involved a highly selected patient group using a high field 3-T wide bore magnet system with T1, STIR, MRA and whole-body DWI acquisitions as well.

Keywords: angiography; atherosclerosis; diffusion weighted imaging; high field magnet; incidentaloma.