Toward Quantifying the Prevalence, Severity, and Cost Associated With Patient Motion During Clinical MR Examinations

J Am Coll Radiol. 2015 Jul;12(7):689-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2015.03.007. Epub 2015 May 9.


Purpose: To assess the prevalence, severity, and cost estimates associated with motion artifacts identified on clinical MR examinations, with a focus on the neuroaxis.

Methods: A retrospective review of 1 randomly selected full calendar week of MR examinations (April 2014) was conducted for the detection of significant motion artifacts in examinations performed at a single institution on 3 different MR scanners. A base-case cost estimate was computed from recently available institutional data, and correlated with sequence time and severity of motion artifacts.

Results: A total of 192 completed clinical examinations were reviewed. Significant motion artifacts were identified on sequences in 7.5% of outpatient and 29.4% of inpatient and/or emergency department MR examinations. The prevalence of repeat sequences was 19.8% of total MRI examinations. The base-case cost estimate yielded a potential cost to the hospital of $592 per hour in lost revenue due to motion artifacts. Potential institutional average costs borne (revenue forgone) of approximately $115,000 per scanner per year may affect hospitals, owing to motion artifacts (univariate sensitivity analysis suggested a lower bound of $92,600, and an upper bound of $139,000).

Conclusions: Motion artifacts represent a frequent cause of MR image degradation, particularly for inpatient and emergency department patients, resulting in substantial costs to the radiology department. Greater attention and resources should be directed toward providing practical solutions to this dilemma.

Keywords: MRI; cost estimate; economics; motion; motion correction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Artifacts*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / economics*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement*
  • Prevalence
  • Retreatment / economics*
  • Retrospective Studies