Turnaround time and efficiency of pediatric outpatient brain magnetic resonance imaging: a multi-institutional cross-sectional study.

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DOI: 10.1007/s00247-022-05563-9; PMCID: PMC9758026


BACKGROUND: Aside from single-center reports, few data exist across pediatric institutions that examine overall MRI turnaround time (TAT) and the determinants of variability.

OBJECTIVE: To determine average duration and determinants of a brain MRI examination at academic pediatric institutions and compare the duration to those used in practice expense relative value units (RVUs).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This multi-institutional cross-sectional investigation comprised four academic pediatric hospitals. We included children ages 0 to < 18 years who underwent an outpatient MRI of the brain without contrast agent in 2019. Our outcome of interest was the overall MRI TAT derived by time stamps. We estimated determinants of overall TAT using an adjusted log-transformed multivariable linear regression model with robust standard errors.

RESULTS: The average overall TAT significantly varied among the four hospitals. A sedated brain MRI ranged from 158 min to 224 min, a non-sedated MRI from 70 min to 112 min, and a limited MRI from 44 min to 70 min. The most significant predictor of a longer overall TAT was having a sedated MRI (coefficient = 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66-0.75; P < 0.001). The median MRI scan time for a non-sedated exam was 38 min and for a sedated exam, 37 min, approximately double the duration used by the Relative Value Scale (RVS) Update Committee (RUC).

CONCLUSION: We found considerable differences in the overall TAT across four pediatric academic institutions. Overall, the significant predictors of turnaround times were hospital site and MRI pathway (non-sedated versus sedated versus limited MRI).

Journal Title

Pediatric radiology





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MeSH Keywords

Child; Humans; Cross-Sectional Studies; Outpatients; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy; Brain


Brain; Children; Exam variability; Magnetic resonance imaging; Multi-institutional; Relative value unit; Sedation; Turnaround time

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