Utility of Repeated Abdominal CT Scans After Prior Negative CT Scans in Patients Presenting to ER with Nontraumatic Abdominal Pain.
ABSTRACT PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to analyze diagnostic yield of repeat computed tomography (CT) after negative initial CT versus yield of initial CT in patients presenting repeatedly to emergency room (ER) for nontraumatic abdominal pain. Medical costs and radiation exposure from repeat CT could be reduced if repeat CT after negative initial CT has a low diagnostic yield. METHODS: Patients included consecutive adults presenting to William Beaumont Hospital, from 2007 to 2010, undergoing abdominal CT for nontraumatic abdominal pain retrospectively identified by medical diagnostic and CT procedural codes. Exclusion criteria were prior abdominal trauma, recent abdominal surgery, and known chronic gastrointestinal disease. The CT was labeled "positive" if findings explained patient's abdominal pain or was clinically significant. Positivity rate was compared for repeat versus initial CT. RESULTS: Among 200 consecutive patients undergoing (659) multiple CTs (mean age = 45.7 years, 74 % female), positivity rate for initial CT (22.5 %) was significantly higher than positivity rates for CT#2 (8.4 %, p = 0.002), for CT#3 (4.9 %, p = 0.005), and for CT ≥ #4 (5.9 %, p = 0.006). Generally, CT positivity rate declined with increasing number of prior negative CTs. CT positivity rate was significantly higher in 100 patients undergoing single CT versus 155 patients undergoing repeat CTs (46.5 vs. 6.5 %, p = 0.0001). Positive repeat CT findings included intestinal mural thickening/mass (7), colitis (5), appendicitis (4), and other (14). Among 15 analyzed clinical parameters, two significantly predicted repeat CT positivity, namely, leukocytosis (p = 0.03) and APACHE-II-score >5 (p = 0.01). Repeat CTs constituted 47 % of all CTs. CONCLUSIONS: Repeat abdominal CT after initially negative CT(s) performed for nontraumatic abdominal pain has a low diagnostic yield. Leukocytosis and APACHE-II score might help predict CT scan positivity. Data suggest restricted abdominal CT utilization in ER patients with multiple prior negative CTs. Findings warrant confirmation in prospective studies.
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ABSTRACT: : Diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) requires repeat diagnostic imaging for monitoring of disease activity. Recent evidence has suggested that patients with IBD are at increased risk of radiation exposure from repeat imaging. The aim of this article was to highlight risks associated with increasing radiation exposure and identify alternatives to minimize exposure. The increasing use of computed tomography (CT) in both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has brought additional benefits to guiding management through non-invasive measures. However, the massive increase in use of CT scans poses a risk of exposing patients with IBD to high levels of diagnostic medical radiation. High levels of diagnostic medical radiation are associated with an increased risk of malignancy in several studies. Numerous studies have identified particular risk factors in IBD associated with high levels of diagnostic medical radiation which are also associated with a more severe disease course. Imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance enterography, ultrasound, small bowel follow through, and capsule endoscopy are alternatives to CT scans as they do not utilize radiation. Gastroenterologists managing patients with IBD, particularly Crohn's disease, should be aware of the increased risk of high cumulative doses of radiation exposure, particularly from CT scanning. Alternative forms of imaging should be carefully considered when evaluating patients, in particularly those with identifiable risk factors for an aggressive disease course.Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 06/2013; DOI:10.1097/MIB.0b013e31828dc6b6 · 5.48 Impact Factor