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Br J Radiol. 2019 May 14:20180926. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20180926. [Epub ahead of print]

Towards a standard MRI protocol for multiple sclerosis across the UK.

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1 Blizard Institute (Neuroscience) Queen Mary University of London , London , UK.
2 Barts Health NHS Trust, Clinical Board Medicine (Neuroscience), The Royal London Hospital , London , UK.
3 Lysholm Department of Neuroradiology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, The National Hospital, Queen Square , London , UK.
4 Department of Neuroradiology, St George's Hospital , London , UK.
5 Icometrix , Leuven , Belgium.
6 Imperial College London, Division of Brain Sciences & UK Dementia Research Institute , London , UK.
7 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology, Hannover Medical School , Hannover , Germany.
8 Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam , NL.


Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating and degenerative disease of the central nervous system. It is the most common non-traumatic cause of chronic disability in young adults. An early and accurate diagnosis, and effective disease modifying treatment are key elements of optimum care for people with MS (pwMS). MRI has become a critical tool to confirm the presence of dissemination in space and time of lesions characteristic of inflammatory demyelination, a cornerstone of MS diagnosis, over and above exclusion of numerous differential diagnoses. In the modern era of early and highly effective DMT, follow-up of pwMS also relies heavily on MRI, to both confirm efficacy and for pharmacovigilance. Since criteria for MS rely heavily on MRI, an agreed standardized acquisition and reporting protocol enabling efficient and equitable application across the UK is desirable. Following a recent meeting of MS experts in London (UK), we make recommendations for a standardized UK MRI protocol that captures the diagnostic phase as well as monitoring for safety and treatment efficacy once the diagnosis is established. Our views take into account issues arising from the (repeated) use of contrast agents as well as the advent of (semi-) automated tools to further optimize disease monitoring in pwMS.


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