Since 2012, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, has had an ED dedicated to neurological patients. In 2015, John Karis, MD, of the Barrow Neurological Institute at St Joseph’s spearheaded a project to place an MRI system in the Neuro ED. He stressed the added prognostic value of having an emergency MRI, and the importance of reducing radiation doses, particularly in patients for whom a CT scan was not the optimal test.
“In the past, CT scans were performed because of their availability and rapid turnaround time” Dr. Karis argues, “but if an MRI could be as efficient as CT for referring physicians, then physicians would probably prefer MRI over CT in part of the cases. Reducing the number of CT scans for patients less than 40 years of age without significant acute findings, such as acute stroke, was also a main reason for introducing MRI into the ED.
“MRI is a better test for identifying soft tissue abnormalities in the brain. What really influenced the decision on the administrative side, was the total radiation dose received by ED patients, and how this could be reduced by introducing MRI in the ED”.