More than 9-in-10 ED patients who receive CT of the abdomen and pelvis are clinically complex

The overwhelming majority (93.8 percent) of patients undergoing computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen and pelvis (CTAP) in the emergency department (ED) setting are classified as clinically complex, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Clinically complex is used to describe patients who are, based on documentation of their ED physician, much sicker than others.

Increasing has validated the utility of CTAP in a variety of . As a result, the utilization of CTAP has increased in recent years, in both the ED and a variety of other settings, resulting in questions regarding the appropriateness of its utilization.

"Understanding the complexity of patient encounters in which advanced medical imaging services are frequently delivered might be useful in aiding payers and policymakers in explaining the growth of services over the past decade and determining the context in which these examinations are appropriately being used," said Richard Duszak, Jr., MD, co-author of the study.

Using the CMS five percent Medicare files for 2007, ED visits for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries were identified. Contemporaneous ED physician evaluation and management codes were used as the basis for patient complexity categorization. Encounters in which CTAP was performed on the same date of service were identified, and variables affecting the utilization of CTAP were analyzed.

Results showed that of 1,081,000 ED encounters, 306, 401 (28.3 percent) were of lower complexity and 774, 599 (71.7 percent) were of higher complexity. CT of the abdomen and was performed in 65,273 of all encounters (6.0 percent), corresponding to 4,069 (1.3 percent) of lower complexity and 61,204 (7.9 percent) of higher complexity encounters. Of the 65,273 encounters associated with CTAP, 61,204 (93.8 percent) were of higher complexity.

"The utilization of advanced in the ED setting serves many valuable roles. CT of the abdomen and pelvis can facilitate patient triage, decrease ED patient waiting times, decrease hospital lengths of stay and reduce the need for exploratory surgery. These outcomes would favor a preferential role for CTAP in sicker and more complex patients, and our results support that belief," said Duszak.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Emergency departments see substantial increase in CT exams

Nov 29, 2010

A new study reports that the use of computed tomography (CT) in the nation's emergency departments is growing exponentially. If the growth trend continues, by 2011, nearly 20 percent of all emergency department (ED) visits ...

Medicare and Medicaid CT scan measure is unreliable: study

Feb 23, 2012

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have published findings that question the reliability of a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality measure. The study, "Assessment of Medicare's Imaging ...

Recommended for you

Why aren't there any human doctors in Star Wars?

5 hours ago

Though set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," it isn't hard to see in the Star Wars films a vision of our own not so distant future. But Anthony Jones, a physician with a long background in health ...

Cambodia bans 'virgin surgery' adverts

Jan 29, 2015

The Cambodian government has ordered a hospital to stop advertising so-called virginity restoration procedures, saying it harms the "morality" of society.

What's happening with your donated specimen?

Jan 28, 2015

When donating blood, plasma, human tissue or any other bodily sample for medical research, most people might not think about how it's being used. But if you were told, would you care?

Amgen tops Street 4Q forecasts

Jan 27, 2015

Amgen Inc. cruised to a 27 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit and beat Wall Street expectations, due to higher sales of nearly all its medicines, tight cost controls and a tax benefit.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.