Cervical spine MRI patterns in patients with neck pain at Tikur Anbessa specialized hospital, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Background:Neck pain is a common health problem throughout the world causing significant individual disability and economic burden on health care facility. Many factors are mentioned as a cause or association in relation to neck pain of which degenerative and posttraumatic cause are the main ones. There are many studies done in the world dedicated to patterns of cervical spine MRI findings in patients with neck pain but none in Ethiopia despite its impact on health care and economic burden stated worldwide. Objective:To assesscervical spine MRI patterns in patients presented with neck pain with or without radiculopathy. Methods: A retrospective record based descriptive study was carried out at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital department of radiology.All patients with neck pain with or without radiculopathy who had cervical spine MRI evaluation between Jun 2017 and March 2018were included in the study.Cervical spine MR images were acquired using Philips Medical Systems Achieva 16 channels1.5 T strength MR scanner using standard neck and brain receiving coils. Images were acquired in sagittal plane in T1 weighted (TR/TE in ms of 400/7.8) and in sagittal plane in T2 weighted (TR/TE in ms of 3000/120) turbo spin echo (TSE) with 3 mm slice thickness, slice gap of 3.3 mm and FOV of 213mm x 213 mm. Axial plane in T2 weighted 3D (TR/TE in ms of 1600/100)turbo spin echo (TSE) with3 mm slice thickness, slice gap of 1.5 mm and FOV of 140 mm x 140 mm. Sagittal plane Short Tau Inversion Recovery (STIR) was acquired (TR/TE in ms of 2500/60) with3 mm slice thickness, slice gap of 3.3 mm and FOV of 213 mm x 213 mm. Record review and data collection using structured format was done between February to August 2018. Data was analyzed using SPSS 20.0 software and frequencies, mean, standard deviation, percentages and cross tabulation were determined and summarized. Results:A total of 160 patients who had cervical spine MRI evaluation for an indication of neck painduring the period under review were included in this study of which 82(51.3%) patients had manifestations of radiculopathy. There were 71(44.4%) male and 89(55.6%) female patients. The mean age was 46.3 ± 13.3years with a range of 18-85 years.Degenerative cervical spine findingssuch as intervertebral disc degeneration in the form of desiccation/dehydration, intervertebral disc space loss of height and disc osteophyte complex with resultant neural foramina and/or spinal canal stenoses were the most common imaging findings seen in 127(79.4%) patients with increasing prevalence with age. Non degenerative imaging findings such as neoplasm and infection were seen in 10(6.3%) patients only. A total of 23(14.4%) patients had normal cervical spine MRI evaluation. Conclusion: Degenerative cervical spine findings were the most common MRI patterns seen in symptomatic patients in this study showing increasing prevalence with age. Cervical spine MRI in patients with neck pain with or without radiculopathy can strongly suggest underlying serious abnormalities as demonstrated in our study, such as infections or neoplasms, which could definitely affect patient management plan.



Neck pain,MRI