American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria and EURO-2000 Guidelines Offer Limited Guidance for MRI Imaging of Pediatric Patients

Published:December 24, 2022DOI:


      This study aims to evaluate the clinical scenarios addressed by the EURO-2000 guidelines and the ACR appropriateness criteria for referring children to MRI and assessing the referring physician compliance with both guidelines.


      In January 2022, clinical scenarios reported in the last 1000 consecutive MRI requests for children (0−16 years) in one university children's hospital and two general university hospitals in Belgium, Europe, were retrospectively matched to the EURO-2000 guidelines and ACR appropriateness criteria. The number of clinical scenarios addressed and the justification for MRI referral were independently assessed for both guidelines. Pooled data from the three centers were evaluated and then analyzed by center, body area and prescriber using McNemar's test for paired proportions and χ2-tests unpaired proportions.


      After excluding incomplete or missing MRI requests, 2932 of 3000 requests were included in the analysis. Overall, out of 2932 clinical scenarios, 1229 (37.99%) were addressed by EURO-2000 and 1081 (36.37%) were addressed by the ACR appropriateness criteria (McNemar test, p = 0.12). The proportions of clinical scenarios covered by the two guidelines were statistically similar when comparing centers, but varied across body regions (p < 0.001) and referring physician specialty (p between 0.75 and 0.001). EURO-2000 guidelines provided better coverage for head and spine (p < 0.05), while the ACR appropriateness criteria provided broader coverage for abdomen, pelvis, and musculoskeletal system (p < 0.0001). For addressed clinical scenarios, prescriber compliance for both guidelines was excellent with > 94% of justified MRI examinations in all the centers.


      Both the EURO-2000 guidelines and the ACR appropriateness criteria did not address two-thirds of clinical scenarios in children. Head and neck, chest and abdominal-pelvic examinations are the anatomic regions which should receive a specific attention for the future implementation of evidence-based clinical decision support tools for all referring specialists.

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