Final Thoughts on MRI Guidelines and Protocols


June Halper, MSN, APC-C, MSCN, FAAN: I think we’ve well explored yesterday. This was a very important opportunity for us to get together and to summarize all the work that’s gone before. But I think the work is ahead of us. Fred, do you have any final comments, anything you’d like to summarize?

Frederik Barkhof, MD, PhD: I was really stimulated because we recently revised our guidelines, and we’re in the process of writing it up. It was good to be able to exchange thoughts, and there are various things that I will take back to our team to make sure that we converge with what you’re doing. Conversely, I think you’ve also heard some things from us that you will consider. It’s really great to see that these things are going to have some common pathway that we all agree on. It’s pretty stimulating.

David Li, MD, FRCPC: One of the things I learned yesterday that was very important was balancing the need for doing the study as opposed to having additional information that we may benefit from in the future. This is being able to home in on the core sequences as opposed to those that may be highly recommended because there’s additional information that you get from it but may not be as core. That’s a very important distinction. Also, there is having other site-specific protocols that people are familiar with or they’re using it because for their particular patient it may be of benefit. But having these distinguishing features of the core, the highly recommended, and then additional optional ones is an important part of that. I think it will help to convince people that it will not increase their scan time, it can be easily adapted, and it will make life so much better for them and most importantly, for their patients.

Scott D. Newsome, DO, MSCS, FAAN: I would say on the clinical side, what was really reassuring to me is that we’re doing things very similarly in terms of monitoring people over time. When is the time to do a re-baseline MRI [magnetic resonance imaging]? How often do you do it, yearly, etcetera? It was eye-opening and reassuring to see that because I think when you’re trying to harmonize different groups, consensus guidelines, it makes it a lot easier when you see eye-to-eye on a lot of the issues. So that was very encouraging to me. I don’t know if you feel the same.

Anthony Traboulsee, MD, FRCPC: Absolutely. I think what’s been nice about this whole process is we’re focused on the patient first and foremost, what’s best for their care. But also, we’re focused on the user. Who’s collecting the MRI data? We don’t want to put the bar so high that it’s unachievable. We’re looking at trying to make this acceptable and broadly applied, so that any MRI center in the world could use these types of protocols in a reasonable way.

June Halper, MSN, APC-C, MSCN, FAAN: I think partnerships across the ocean, across the world, are extremely important. We’re learning so much more about MS [multiple sclerosis] because MS seems to be popping up all over the place. Our population certainly more than doubled here in this country, and I think it didn’t double, we just started counting better. Our partnerships with Europe and throughout the world are going to be extremely important for us to learn from each other and continue the dialogue. This was a great opportunity. Thanks so much for sitting down with me. I hope our listeners will learn a bit, and we hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We’ll continue this dialogue from now on. Thank you very much.

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