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Epilepsy

MRI as part of diagnostic work-up

10/09/2009

Question:

I am a pediatric nurse who works in a sedation department in a hospital. We do many MRIs with anesthesia for first seizures with no other symptoms of brain anomale. I`m wondering if this a good expendature of our health care dollars when most of the scans are basically normal? Does anyone track the percentage of abnormal ones and the cost invovled? I think we should start looking at the cost-benefit ratios of what we are doing. Can`t we set up national standards based on this info so doctors won`t be sued? Do all these MRIs improve our outcomes? What about doing screening CTs(which are faster and cheaper) and then MRIs as indicated? What do you think?

Answer:

MRI is superior to CT scanning in looking for abnormalities that cause epilepsy and is part of the standard work up for epilepsy and seizures. 

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Response by:

David M Ficker, MD David M Ficker, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati