Unexpected findings at multi-detector CT scans: Less reason to worry

August 27, 2012

A new study from Rhode Island Hospital reports that nearly seven percent of urologic multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans for hematuria result in incidental findings that may be clinically important for the patient. The study is published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

It is known that urologic CT scans can sometimes show incidental findings. To date, however, there has been limited information about the prevalence and characteristics of those findings. Julie Song, M.D., a radiologist with Rhode Island Hospital's department of diagnostic imaging, is the principal investigator on the study to attempt to classify these findings.

Song says, "We know that incidental findings are common at CT, but such discovery is not always beneficial to the patient. Early detection of treatable disease is desirable, but "incidentalomas" can also be problematic because they can lead to a cascade of additional exams, costs, and added , for many conditions that are ultimately proved to be inconsequential to patient care."

Through a , Song and colleagues examined 1,209 CT scans performed for "hematuria" (blood in the urine). Of the 1,209 patients who had undergone MDCT urography, Song found that nearly 7 percent of the scans resulted in incidental extra-urinary findings that were considered clinically important, and warranting further investigation.

The most common incidental findings were , aneurysms and . But of these, findings that ultimately had significant impact on patient care, such as those requiring immediate medical attention occurred in only 0.9 percent and cancer was found in 0.4 percent.

She concludes, "MDCT urography is a commonly performed study for hematuria. We have shown that significant incidental findings proved to be relatively uncommon."

Explore further: Many radiologists disagree on management of incidental findings, study finds

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


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.