MRI Beats X-Ray for Spotting Fractures in ER

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A recent article in Medline Plus reports that the National Institute of Health (NIH) announced recently the results of a new study, which called into question the accuracy of x-rays in detecting hip and pelvic fractures.  In the study, researchers at the Duke University Medical Center analyzyed data on 92 patients who received both an x-ray and an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to evaluate hip and pelvic pain.  The results:

“Thirteen patients with normal X-ray findings were found to collectively have 23 fractures at MRI,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Charles Spritzer, said in a news release from the American College of Radiology/American Roentgen Ray Society.  In addition, the study found that, “in 11 patients, MRI showed no fracture after X-rays had suggested the presence of a fracture,” Spritzer said. “In another 15 patients who had abnormal X-ray findings, MRI depicted 12 additional pelvic fractures not identified on X-rays.”

While x-rays tend to be the front-line study in the emergency room setting (primarily because of cost), this new study suggests that MRI may be a better approach for suspected fractures, which will hopefully lead to more patients getting an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

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