Black bone MRI with 3D reconstruction for the detection of skull fractures in children with suspected abusive head trauma

Stephen F. Kralik, Nucharin Supakul, Isaac C. Wu, Gaspar Delso, Rupa Radhakrishnan, Chang Y. Ho, Karen A. Eley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of “black bone” (BB) MRI for the detection of skull fractures in children with potential abusive head trauma. Methods: A total of 34 pediatric patients were evaluated for potential abusive head trauma. All patients had both a non-contrast head CT (HCT) with multiplanar reformatted images and 3D volumetric reformatted images where available (gold standard) for fracture diagnosis and BB of the head with multiplanar reformatted images and 3D volumetric images. BB was performed using an ultrashort TE pointwise encoding time reduction with radial acquisition (PETRA) sequence at 1.5 T or 3 T. BB datasets were post-processed and 3D images created using Fovia’s High Definition Volume Rendering® software. Two board-certified pediatric neuroradiologists independently reviewed the HCT and BB imaging, blinded to the findings from the other modality. Results: Median patient age was 4 months (range 1.2–30 months). A total of 20 skull fractures in six patients (18% incidence of skull fractures) were detected on HCT. BB demonstrated 83% sensitivity (95%[CI] 36–99%), 100% specificity (95%[CI] 88–100%), 100% PPV (95%[CI] 46–100%), 97% NPV (95%[CI] 82–99%), and 97% accuracy (95%[CI] 85–99%) for diagnosis of a skull fracture. BB detected 95% (19/20) of the skull fractures detected by CT. Conclusion: A black bone MRI sequence may provide high sensitivity and specificity for detection of skull fractures in pediatric patients with abusive head trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 23 2019



  • Abusive head trauma
  • CT
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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