[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There has been a recent growth in the use of whole body Computerised Tomography (CT) scans in the private sector as a screening test for asymptomatic disease. This is despite scant evidence to show any positive effect on morbidity or mortality. There has been concern raised over the possible harms of the test in terms of radiation exposure as well as the risk and anxiety of further investigation and treatment for the large numbers of benign lesions identified.
A healthy 64 year old lady received a privately funded whole body CT scan for her birthday which revealed an incidental mass in the right iliac fossa. This was investigated with further imaging and colonoscopy and as confident diagnosis could not be made, eventually excised. Histology demonstrated this to be a benign ancient schwannoma and we believe this to be the first reported case of an abdominal wall schwannoma in the English literature
Ancient schwannomas are rare tumours of the peripheral nerve sheaths more usually found in the head, neck and flexor surfaces of extremities. They are a subtype of classical schwannomas with a predominance of degenerative changes. Our case highlights the pitfalls of such screening tests in demonstrating benign disease and subjecting patients to what turns out to be unnecessary invasive investigation and treatment. It provides evidence as to the consequences of the large number of false positive results that are created by blind CT scanning of asymptomatic patients i.e. its tendency to detect pseudodiesease rather than affect survival rates. Should the number of scans increase there may be an unnecessary burden on NHS resources due to the large numbers of benign lesions picked up, that are then referred for further investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To date, the College of Radiology (CoR) does not see any clear benefit in performing whole body screening computed tomography (CT) examinations in healthy asymptomatic individuals. There are radiation risk issues in CT and principles of screening should be adhered to. There may be a role for targeted cardiac screening CT that derives calcium score, especially for asymptomatic medium-risk individuals and CT colonography when used as part of a strategic programme for colorectal cancer screening in those 50 years and older. However, population based screening CT examinations may become appropriate when evidence emerges regarding a clear benefit for the patient outweighing the associated radiation risks.
Biomedical Imaging and Intervention Journal 10/2008; 4(4):e44.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the activities, motivations, and attitudes of radiologists regarding specific computed tomographic (CT) screening examinations by using a survey.
All study activities were approved by the institutional review board. A self-administered, mailed survey was used to collect data on the practices and attitudes of U.S. radiologists regarding three CT screening tests--coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS), lung cancer screening CT, and whole-body screening CT. The survey was sent to 1000 diagnostic radiologists who were randomly sampled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile.
A total of 398 (41.4%) of 961 eligible radiologists completed the survey. Among respondents, 33.6% reported reading CT screening studies, the most common being CACS (26.7%), followed by lung screening (19.2%) and whole-body screening (9.5%). Among respondents, 34.1% supported CACS and 29.9% supported lung CT screening for particular patients, while 1.9% supported whole-body CT screening. The most common reasons reported for reading CT screening studies were responses to requests from physicians (83.3%) or patients (75.0%), while fewer (40.8%) cited patient benefit from screening as a reason.
A substantial proportion of a nationally representative sample of radiologists in the United States reads CT screening studies of the heart, lungs, and whole body and holds favorable attitudes toward CACS and lung CT screening. These attitudes may allow for the premature diffusion of new screening tests into practice before higher-level evidence demonstrates their benefits for population mortality.
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