Rapid-sequence MRI for evaluation of pediatric traumatic brain injury: A systematic review

Brice A. Kessler, Jo Ling Goh, Hengameh B. Pajer, Anthony M. Asher, Weston T. Northam, Sheng Che Hung, Nathan R. Selden, Carolyn S. Quinsey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Rapid-sequence MRI (RSMRI) of the brain is a limited-sequence MRI protocol that eliminates ionizing radiation exposure and reduces imaging time. This systematic review sought to examine studies of clinical RSMRI use for pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to evaluate various RSMRI protocols used, including their reported accuracy as well as clinical and systems-based limitations to implementation. METHODS PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases were searched, and clinical articles reporting the use of a limited brain MRI protocol in the setting of pediatric head trauma were identified. RESULTS Of the 1639 articles initially identified and reviewed, 13 studies were included. An additional article that was in press at the time was provided by its authors. The average RSMRI study completion time was variable, spanning from 1 minute to 16 minutes. RSMRI with “blood-sensitive” sequences was more sensitive for detection of hemorrhage compared with head CT (HCT), but less sensitive for detection of skull fractures. Compared with standard MRI, RSMRI had decreased sensitivity for all evidence of trauma. CONCLUSIONS Protocols and uses of RSMRI for pediatric TBI were variable among the included studies. While traumatic pathology missed by RSMRI, such as small hemorrhages and linear, nondisplaced skull fractures, was frequently described as clinically insignificant, in some cases these findings may be prognostically and/or forensically significant. Institutions should integrate RSMRI into pediatric TBI management judiciously, relying on clinical context and institutional capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Head trauma
  • Pediatric head imaging
  • Rapid-sequence MRI
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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