Research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF), and the San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) suggest that hospital MRIs may prove more effective in predicting long-term outcomes for individuals with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) than CT scans. A UCSF news release notes that the study, which was led by Esther Yuh, MD, PhD, (pictured right) encompassed 135 patients with mild traumatic brain injuries who received CT scans upon admission, and then were given MRIs one week later.
The results suggest the 99 of the study participants did not exhibit detectable signs of injury on a CT scan, however, researchers say more than a quarter with “normal” CT scans exhibited focal lesions on their MRI scans. Researchers conclude that pinpointing these focal lesions assisted doctors in predicting whether the patients were likely to suffer persistent neurological problems.
Geoff Manley, MD, PhD, chief of neurosurgery at SFGH and vice chair of the department of neurological surgery at UCSF, emphasizes that the work, “raises questions of how we’re currently managing patients via CT scan. Having a normal CT scan doesn’t, in fact, say you’re normal,” Manley says.
Manley adds that one of the key issues is that there is no way to predict which patients will experience poor long-term outcomes. The research is a significant step, Manley says, towards developing a more quantitative way of assessing patients with mild TBIs and developing more precision medical tools to detect, monitor, and treat them.