Re: "Quality of Life and Diagnostic Imaging Outcomes" Reply

Radiological Associates of Sacramento, Sacramento, California 95815, USA.
Journal of the American College of Radiology: JACR (Impact Factor: 2.84). 04/2010; 7(4):265-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2010.01.001
Source: PubMed


The US Preventive Services Task Force recently promulgated revised guidelines for screening mammography. Criticisms were related to the undervaluation of future lives saved and the overvaluation of negative impacts of mammography. Radiologists downplayed quality-of-life factors, potentially understating the value of all imaging procedures. The task force's recommendations for core needle biopsy, based on similar conceptual frameworks, were not met with equivalent responses. Full appreciation of the costs and benefits of screening provides the basis for making the best decisions for individuals and populations. This is undermined by the mixed messages that patients and physicians receive during clinical encounters and through other means. Quantitative approaches to medical care are valid on their own terms and when evaluated in the individual context. Insights from behavioral economics and political science inform discussion of population-based medical interventions. Preventing harm from medical interventions satisfies both the "primum non nocere" dictum and the loss aversion heuristic concordantly. The most effective medical care is provided when benefits are maximized and complications are minimized, especially when the harms occur immediately and the benefits are delayed. The importance of both quality of life and longevity in health care decision making require minimizing negative impacts of mammography when screening low-risk populations. Current practice differs significantly from the successful randomized trials, front-loading costs of false-positive examinations, and overtreatment. By decreasing false-positive mammographic results through adherence to ACR BI-RADS recommendations, radiologists can answer critics of early and frequent screening while still reducing cancer deaths.

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  • Journal of the American College of Radiology: JACR 07/2010; 7(7):546; author reply 546-7. DOI:10.1016/j.jacr.2010.05.003 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To determine the optimal imaging strategy for young children with minor head injury considering health-related quality of life and radiation risk. In children with minor head trauma, the risk of missing a clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI) must be weighed against the risk of radiation-induced malignancy from computed tomography (CT) to assess impact on public health. Study design: We included children <2 years old with minor blunt head trauma defined by a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 14-15. We used decision analysis to model a CT-all versus no-CT strategy and assigned values to clinical outcomes based on a validated health-related quality of life scale: (1) baseline health; (2) non-ciTBI; (3) ciTBI without neurosurgery, death, or intubation; and (4) ciTBI with neurosurgery, death, or intubation >24 hours with probabilities from a prospective study of 10000 children. Sensitivity analysis determined the optimal management strategy over a range of ciTBI risk. Results: The no-CT strategy resulted in less risk with the expected probability of a ciTBI of 0.9%. Sensitivity analysis for the probability of ciTBI identified 4.8% as the threshold above which CT all becomes the preferred strategy and shows that the threshold decreases with less radiation. The CT all strategy represents the preferred approach for children identified as high-risk. Conclusion: Among children <2 years old with minor head trauma, the no-CT strategy is preferable for those at low risk, reserving CT for children at higher risk.
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