We aimed to study the attitude of Italian neurologists in the use of conventional MRI in patients with idiopathic adult-onset focal dystonia. Patients were included in the Italian Dystonia Registry by experts working in different Italian centers. MRI was available for 1045 of the 1471 (71%) patients included in the analysis. Using logistic regression analysis, we found that MRI was more likely to be performed in patients with cervical dystonia, spasmodic dysphonia, or non-task-specific upper limb dystonia, whereas it was less likely to be performed in patients with blepharospasm or task-specific upper limb dystonia. We did not find differences in the number of MRIs performed between neurological centers in Northern, Central, and Southern Italy. We conclude that although the diagnosis of idiopathic adult-onset dystonia is mainly based on clinical grounds, many movement disorder experts rely on MRI to confirm a diagnosis of idiopathic dystonia. We suggest that neuroimaging should be used in patients with adult-onset focal dystonia to rule out secondary forms.
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