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Eur Radiol. 2013 May;23(5):1343-51. doi: 10.1007/s00330-012-2723-8. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Psychosocial consequences and severity of disclosed incidental findings from whole-body MRI in a general population study.

Author information

1
Study of Health in Pomerania /KEF, University Medicine of Greifswald, Institute for Community Medicine, Walther Rathenau Str. 48, 17475 Greifswald, Germany. carsten.schmidt@uni-greifswald.de

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Little is known about the psychosocial impact and subjective interpretation of communicated incide ntal findings from whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (wb-MRI). This was addressed with this general population study.

METHODS:

Data was based on the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP), Germany. SHIP comprised a 1.5-T wb-MRI examination. A postal survey was conducted among the first 471 participants, aged 23-84 years, who received a notification about incidental findings (response 86.0 %, n = 405). The severity of incidental findings was assessed from the participants' and radiologists' perspective.

RESULTS:

In total, 394 participants (97.3 %) wanted to learn about their health by undergoing wb-MRI. Strong distress while waiting for a potential notification of an incidental finding was reported by 40 participants (9.9 %), whereas 116 (28.6 %) reported moderate to severe psychological distress thereafter. Strong disagreement was noted between the subjective and radiological evaluation of the findings' severity (kappa = 0.02). Almost all participants (n = 389, 96.0 %) were very satisfied with their examination.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the high satisfaction of most participants, there were numerous adverse consequences concerning the communication of incidental findings and false expectations about the likely potential benefits of whole-body-MRI.

KEY POINTS:

• Disclosed incidental findings from MRI may lead to substantial psychosocial distress. • Subjective and radiological evaluations of incidental findings' severity differ strongly. • Disclosing incidental findings is strongly endorsed by study volunteers. • Study volunteers tend to have false expectations about potential benefits from MRI. • Minimizing stress in study volunteers should be a key aim in MRI research.

PMID:
23239059
DOI:
10.1007/s00330-012-2723-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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