Head trauma is the most common indication for a CT scan. In this pilot study, the authors assess the feasibility of a 5-minute high-resolution 3D golden-angle (GA) stack-of-stars radial volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) MRI sequence (GA-VIBE) to obtain clinically acceptable cranial bone images and identify cranial vault fractures compared to CT.
Patients younger than 18 years of age presenting after head trauma were eligible for the study. Three clinicians reviewed and assessed 1) slice-by-slice volumetric CT and inverted MR images, and 2) 3D reconstructions obtained from inverted MR images and the gold standard (CT). For each image set, reviewers noted on 5-point Likert scales whether they recommended that a repeat scan be performed and the presence or absence of cranial vault fractures.
Thirty-one patients completed MRI after a clinical head CT scan was performed. Based on CT imaging, 8 of 31 patients had cranial fractures. Two of 31 patients were sedated as part of their clinical MRI scan. In 30 (97%) of 31 MRI reviews, clinicians agreed (or strongly agreed) that the image quality was acceptable for clinical diagnosis. Overall, comparing MRI to acceptable gold-standard CT, sensitivity and specificity of fracture detection were 100%. Furthermore, there were no discrepancies between CT and MRI in classification of fracture type or location.
When compared with the gold standard (CT), the volumetric and 3D reconstructed images using the GA-VIBE sequence were able to produce clinically acceptable cranial images with excellent ability to detect cranial vault fractures.