Utility of Repeated Abdominal CT Scans After Prior Negative CT Scans in Patients Presenting to ER with Nontraumatic Abdominal Pain

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, 3535 West 13 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI, 48073, USA.
Digestive Diseases and Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.61). 11/2012; 58(4). DOI: 10.1007/s10620-012-2473-0
Source: PubMed


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.

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.

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.

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.

12 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) represents a significant health care burden in the United States. Diagnosing it early and accurately is important for the efficient management of these patients. However, the early diagnosis of CP, when structural and functional pancreatic changes are subtle, remains difficult. Complicating this is the large cohort of patients with nonspecific abdominal pain who are often suspected of having early CP and who utilize significant health care resources in attempts at diagnosis and management. We present a review of the current diagnostic tests available for making an early diagnosis of CP. We further report our approach to patients suspected of having CP based on the available literature.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Pancreas
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to retrospectively investigate associations between baseline CT findings in suspected acute appendicitis and subsequent hospital resource utilization. One hundred thirty-eight patients (76 male and 62 female patients; mean [± SD] age, 40 ± 21 years) who were admitted for suspected acute appendicitis and underwent baseline CT were included. A single radiologist reviewed CT examinations for appendiceal-related findings. Linear and logistic regressions were performed to identify independent predictors of payer and hospital resource utilization. Combined performance of identified independent factors for predicting outcomes was determined. Greater age, lower Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), lesser appendiceal wall thickness, absence of loculated fluid collection, and absence of periappendiceal fluid were significant independent predictors of inpatient surgery (joint sensitivity, 92.7%; specificity, 65.8%). Smaller appendiceal diameter, absence of periappendiceal fluid, and laparoscopic surgery were significant independent predictors of same-day discharge (joint sensitivity, 79.1%; specificity, 64.2%). Greater CCI, greater wall thickness, and presence of periappendiceal fluid were significant independent predictors of repeat abdominopelvic CT (joint sensitivity, 82.5%; specificity, 68.1%). Presence of an appendicolith was the only significant predictor of repeat emergency department visit within 30 days (sensitivity, 61.2%; specificity, 68.8%) and the only significant predictor of repeat inpatient admission within 30 days (sensitivity, 63.6%; specificity, 68.5%). Greater appendiceal diameter and presence of free air were significant predictors of inpatient costs, and predicted costs were as follows: $8047 + ($745 × appendiceal diameter) if free air was absent; and $-39,261 + ($4426 × appendiceal diameter) if free air was present. However, costs were poorly predicted when greater than $45,000. Sex, WBC count, and payer category were not independent predictors, relative to CT findings, of any outcome. Admission CT findings serve as independent predictors of hospital resource utilization in suspected acute appendicitis.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · American Journal of Roentgenology
Show more