Study objective: During the last decades, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have revolutionized neuro-imaging. Nowadays these techniques are routinely used, but the extent and variation of use has been investigated poorly. Our purposes were to retrospectively determine the evolution in demographic variables and indications of cranial CT and MRI scanning in 1993, 2000 and 2009, at our hospital.
Methods: We retrospectively studied medical and neurologic in- and outpatients, who underwent CT- or MR imaging of the head for several demographic and patient characteristics.
Results: We observed a modest increase in mean age and a marked increase in total number of cranial CT examinations, MR confirmation studies and repeat examinations. Metastatic disease, head injury and headache were indications associated with more rapid growth in CT use than were others.
Conclusion: Among the 5 patient and hospital factors considered (total number of examinations, age, indication, MR confirmation study and repeat examinations), all had a significant variation during the past 16 years. Strict regulations with compelling guidelines for the rational use of brain CT and MRI are inevitable in order to control expenditure and radiation exposure.