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Incidental findings arising from imaging research have important implications for patient safety. Magnetic resonance imaging is widespread in multiple sclerosis (MS) studies and care, yet the prevalence rate of incidental findings in MS is poorly defined. The absence of such reports in the MS literature suggests that such findings may be deemed inappropriate for documentation in research publications, or possibly, not fully reported at all.
We sought to document incidental findings from a study designed to detect features of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) in MS patients and control subjects.
Magnetic resonance images were obtained as part of a prospective study conducted between October 2010 and September 2012. Patients with MS (relapsing-remitting, primary progressive, secondary progressive), clinically isolated syndromes, and neuromyelitis optica and age/sex-matched healthy controls were included. All images were reviewed by neuro-radiologists for quality-control purposes.
Magnetic resonance imaging was successfully obtained in 166 participants (110 patients, 56 controls). Incidental abnormalities (n = 33) were detected in 15% of patients (n = 17) and 27% of controls (n = 15), comprising 19% overall (n = 32).
The prevalence of incidental findings from the MS population was not significantly different from the control population. However, the overall prevalence was high and warrants a careful management strategy for future imaging studies.
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