A Multicenter Evaluation of Utility of Chest Computed Tomography and Bone Scans in Liver Transplant Candidates With Stages I and II Hepatoma

Department of Surgery, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, USA.
Annals of Surgery (Impact Factor: 8.33). 05/2005; 241(4):622-8. DOI: 10.1097/01.sla.0000157267.27356.80
Source: PubMed


To determine utility of practice of chest computed tomography (CCT) and bone scan (BS) in patients with early-stage hepatoma evaluated for transplantation (LT).
Consensus-based policy mandates routine CCT and BS in LT candidates with hepatoma. No data exist either to support or refute this policy.
From January 1999 to December 2002, stages I and II hepatoma patients evaluated at 4 centers were included. Scan interpretation was positive, indeterminate, or negative. Outcomes of evaluation and transplantation were compared between groups based on scans. Total charges incurred were derived from mean of charges at the centers.
One hundred seventeen stages I and II patients were evaluated. None had positive scans, 78 had negative, 29 had at least 1 indeterminate, and 10 did not have 1 or both scans. Twelve patients were declined listing, 6 from progression of hepatoma but none from CCT or BS findings. Two listed patients were delisted for progression of the hepatoma. Proportion of patients listed, transplanted, clinical and pathologic stage of hepatoma, and recurrence after LT were similar in groups with negative and indeterminate scans. Indeterminate scans led to 6 invasive procedures, 1 patient died of complications of a mediastinal biopsy, and none of the 6 showed metastases. Charges of $2933 were generated per patient evaluated.
Positive yield of routine CCT and BS in patients with hepatoma is very low despite substantial charges and potential complications. CCT and BS performed only when clinically indicated will be a more cost-effective and safer approach.

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