The Effect of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma Guideline on Spinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging Use in Obtunded Adult Blunt Trauma Patients Over Time

Mihir J. Chaudhary, Joseph K. Canner, Elliott R. Haut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Evidence-based guidelines suggest computed tomography without magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sufficient to rule out clinically significant cervical spine injury in obtunded adult blunt trauma patients. This study evaluated MRI utilization over time to investigate the impact of the 2015 Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma guidelines suggesting cervical collar clearance with computed tomography alone in this population. We hypothesized that MRI utilization would decrease following the guidelines. Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of the National Trauma Data Bank from 2007 to 2018 using multivariable logistic regression of the likelihood of spinal MRI utilization. Blunt trauma patients 18 y and older with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 8 or less, Abbreviated Injury Score head of 4 or greater, intubated for at least 72 h were included. Results: The sample consisted of 76,450 patients from 567 trauma centers. Controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, insurance status, injury mechanism, Injury Severity Score, GCS, GCS motor, hospital teaching status and trauma center level, patients seen after 2015 had a higher odds ratio (OR) of undergoing spinal MRI relative to those seen before 2015 (OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.49-2.09; P < 0.001). Each year was associated with a significantly increased OR of undergoing spinal MRI compared to the year prior (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.05-1.15; P < 0.001). Conclusions: Spinal MRI use has been increasing in obtunded adult blunt trauma patients including after the release of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma guidelines in 2015. Future work should identify whether this is driven by improper MRI utilization and, if so, strategies to promote guideline adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Volume270
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Blunt trauma
  • Cervical spine
  • Clinical guidelines
  • MRI
  • Quality improvement
  • Spinal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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