In this Monday morning session, Supriya Gupta, MD, and colleagues will present findings from their study that examined trends in follow-up recommendations after abdominal MRI exams, tracking whether clinicians recommended high-cost or low-cost modalities.
The team isolated 6,854 cases of 51,202 MRI abdominal exams taken between 1993 and 2010 that had been recommended for further follow-up. Out of these 6,854 cases, MRI was recommended in 35.8% of cases, CT in 15.2%, biopsy in 9.1%, and ultrasound in 8.5%. Other categories of recommendation included repeating the exam (35.5%), PET (1.2%), and x-ray (1.1%).
The researchers found that recommendations for MRI as follow-up increased during the time period, from 21% in 1993 to 43.2% in 2009. During the same period, recommendations for follow-up with ultrasound after abdominal MRI decreased from 34.6% in 1993 to 4.6% in 2009. Recommendations for biopsy decreased from 13.5% in 1993 to 7.5% in 2009, and for x-ray they decreased from 7.6% to 0.8%.
CT rates of recommendation after abdominal MRI remained stable, however, at 15.4% in 1993 and 14% in 2009.
The study shows that while following up with MRI is more expensive than ultrasound, it's also more specific, which is why more clinicians are recommending it to resolve equivocal abdominal findings, the team concluded.