The Time Has Arrived for National Reimbursement of Screening CT Colonography

1 Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, San Francisco VA Medical Center, 4150 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121.
American Journal of Roentgenology (Impact Factor: 2.73). 07/2013; 201(1):73-9. DOI: 10.2214/AJR.13.10656
Source: PubMed


CT colonography (CTC) has been fully validated as an accurate screening test for colorectal carcinoma and is being disseminated globally. There is an abundance of new literature addressing the prior concerns of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Specific areas related to radiation dose, extracolonic findings, and generalizability of CTC to senior patients are discussed.

The time has arrived for national reimbursement of CTC in the United States.

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    ABSTRACT: To investigate image quality and radiation dose of CT colonography (CTC) with adaptive iterative dose reduction three-dimensional (AIDR3D). Ten segments of porcine colon phantom were collected, and 30 pedunculate polyps with diameters ranging from 1 to 15 mm were simulated on each segment. Image data were acquired with tube voltage of 120 kVp, and current doses of 10 mAs, 20 mAs, 30 mAs, 40 mAs, 50 mAs, respectively. CTC images were reconstructed using filtered back projection (FBP) and AIDR3D. Two radiologists blindly evaluated image quality. Quantitative evaluation of image quality included image noise, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). Qualitative image quality was evaluated with a five-score scale. Radiation dose was calculated based on dose-length product. Ten volunteers were examined supine 50 mAs with FBP and prone 20 mAs with AIDR3D, and image qualities were assessed. Paired t test was performed for statistical analysis. For 20 mAs with AIDR3D and 50 mAs with FBP, image noise, SNRs and CNRs were (16.4 ± 1.6) HU vs. (16.8 ± 2.6) HU, 1.9 ± 0.2 vs. 1.9 ± 0.4, and 62.3 ± 6.8 vs. 62.0 ± 6.2, respectively; qualitative image quality scores were 4.1 and 4.3, respectively; their differences were all not statistically significant. Compared with 50 mAs with FBP, radiation dose (1.62 mSv) of 20 mAs with AIDR3D was decreased by 60.0%. There was no statistically significant difference in image noise, SNRs, CNRs and qualitative image quality scores between prone 20 mAs with AIDR3D and supine 50 mAs with FBP in 10 volunteers, the former reduced radiation dose by 61.1%. Image quality of CTC using 20 mAs with AIDR3D could be comparable to standard 50 mAs with FBP, radiation dose of the former reduced by about 60.0% and was only 1.62 mSv.
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    ABSTRACT: This article addresses the use of computed tomographic colonography (CTC) for the diagnosis and management of colorectal cancer, focusing on presurgical evaluation of the colon proximal to an occlusive cancer and surveillance after cancer resection surgery. The key evidences accumulated in the literature and future work needed are summarized. CTC is a technically robust and the most practical method to evaluate the colon proximal to an occlusive cancer, which prevents colonoscopic examination past the occlusion, either before or after metallic stent placement. The high sensitivity of CTC for detecting cancers and advanced adenomas in the proximal colon can help prevent additional surgical procedures in patients showing negative results. However, the accuracy of CTC for distinguishing intramural cancers from adenomas is low, and the technique is limited in guiding management when a medium-sized lesion that do not show invasive features such as pericolic extension or nodal metastasis is found in the proximal colon. A maximal diameter ≥ 15 mm has been proposed as a criterion for surgical removal of proximal lesions. However, this needs to be verified in a larger cohort. In addition, the influence of presurgical CTC results on the current post-cancer resection colonic surveillance timeline remains to be determined. CTC can be readily added to the routine abdominopelvic CT in the form of contrast-enhanced CTC, which can serve as an effective stand-alone tool for post-cancer resection surveillance of both the colorectum and extracolonic organs. Although the accuracy of CTC has been demonstrated, its role in the current colonoscopy-based postoperative colonic surveillance protocols remains to be determined. Readers of CTC also need to be knowledgeable on the colonic lesions that are unique to the postoperative colon.
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