Objective: We describe the systematic approach to incidental findings (IFs) used at the Mind Research Network (MRN) where all MRI scans receive neuroradiologist interpretation and participants are provided results. Methods: From 2004 to 2011, 8,545 MRI scans were acquired by 45 researchers. As mandated by MRN's external institutional review board, all structural sequences were evaluated by a clinica neuroradiologist who generated a report that included recommendations for referral if indicated. Investigators received a copy of their participants' reports, which were also mailed to participants unless they specifically declined. To better understand the impact of the radiology review process, a financial analysis was completed in addition to a follow-up phone survey to characterize participant perceptions regarding receiving their MRI scan results. Results: The radiologist identified IFs in 34% of the 4,447 participants. Of those with IFs (n = 1,518), the radiologist recommended urgent or immediate referral for 2.5% and routine referra for 17%. For 80.5%, no referral was recommended. Estimated annual cost for this approach ncluding support for the neuroradiologist, medical director, and ancillary staff is approximately $60,000 or $24/scan. The results of the retrospective phone survey showed that 92% of particpants appreciated receiving their MRI report, and the majority stated it increased their likelihood of volunteering for future studies. Conclusions: Addressing IFs in a cost-effective and consistent manner is possible by adopting a policy that provides neuroradiology interpretation and offers participant assistance with clinica follow-up when necessary. Our experience suggests that an ethical, institution-wide approach to IFs can be implemented with minimal investigator burden.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology