The use of quick-brain magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of shunt-treated hydrocephalus

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  • 1 Departments of Neurological Surgery and Radiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
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Object. Children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus are exposed to serious amounts of radiation when undergoing computerized tomography (CT) scanning. The authors report their clinical experience with single-shot fast—spin echo (SSFSE) (quick-brain) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging as the modality of choice for the workup and follow up of patients in whom a shunt has been placed to treat hydrocephalus.

Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed to obtain data on all cases in which a quick-brain MR image was acquired for either symptomatic workup or asymptomatic follow-up examination of shunt-treated hydrocephalus. Data regarding demographics, origin of hydrocephalus, MR imaging indications and findings, use of sedation, imaging-related complications, use of adjunctive CT scanning, details of shunt revision, and cause of shunt malfunction were collected.

The authors found that SSFSE MR imaging is a sufficient, radiation-free diagnostic alternative to CT scanning that minimizes movement artifact and duration of scanning and eliminates the need for sedation.

Conclusions. In light of these findings, the authors propose that quick-brain MR imaging replace CT scanning as the diagnostic modality of choice in examining and following shunt-treated patients because it offers significant advantages.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Bermans J. Iskandar, M.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, 600 Highland Avenue, K4/832, Madison, Wisconsin 53792. email: iskandar@neurosurg.wisc.edu.
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