Variation in Technical Quality of Breast MRI


      Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) quality may vary across the United States. Our aim was to investigate the quality of outside breast MRIs presenting for second opinion at a tertiary cancer center following implementation of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Breast MRI Accreditation Program.

      Materials and Methods

      We retrospectively reviewed the technical quality of the MRI studies of 100 consecutive cases submitted for second opinion in 2013. The image quality was blindly reviewed per ACR Breast MRI Accreditation Program by three fellowship-trained breast radiologists and one breast imaging fellow.


      In total, 88 of the 100 cases were referred from facilities in the United States. Sixty (68%) of the 88 cases had at least one technical deficiency. In 10 cases (11%), more than five different technical deficiencies occurred. The most frequently encountered deficiencies were related to artifacts (74%), with shimming (N = 17) and motion (N = 16) being the most common. In total, 38% of cases (N = 33) had a deficient T2-weighted sequence, mostly due to low signal to noise ratio (N = 25). A total of 27% cases (N = 24) had deficiencies in the delayed phase postcontrast T1-weighted sequence, mainly due to low signal to noise ratio (N = 21) and 23% had deficiencies in the early phase postcontrast T1-weighted sequence, predominantly due to low signal to noise ratio as well. (N = 19).


      Our study demonstrates variability of breast MRI quality across the United States. Radiologists should become familiar with the requirements of the ACR breast MRI accreditation program and strive to meet the expected standards in order to enhance patient quality and safety.
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