Standard CT protocol for trauma patients leads to overutilization of imaging

It is unnecessary to scan trauma patients based on a non-focused standard trauma CT protocol, if the patient is transferred for care after already undergoing a focused CT examination based on the patient's history and physical examination, a new study shows.

The study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reviewed the records of 100 patients who were transferred from another facility. "The standard trauma CT protocol for all level 1 and 2 transferred to our facility includes a CT examination of the head, , thoracic spine, lumbar spine, chest, abdomen and ," said Dr. Matthew Heller, a lead author in the study. "We found that these additional tests generated 463 negative CT examinations. In seven patients, there were minor unexpected acute findings, such as non-displaced rib fractures. However, the findings did not change the treatment of any of these patients," said Dr. Heller.

"In short, scanning patients according to the standard trauma protocol generated hundreds of CT examinations which did not impact the patient's care," said Dr. Heller. On average, we found that the standard trauma protocol generated approximately 5 per patient that were either negative or not clinically significant," he said.

"In our study, we estimate that CT utilization, imaging costs and can be reduced by at least 50% if the standard imaging protocol is replaced by imaging dictated by the patient's history and physical examination findings," Dr. Heller said.

Dr. Heller will present his study at the ARRS annual meeting on April 15 in Washington, DC.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer

3 hours ago

A new study shows that patients with stage I to stage III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood than those of patients who are at risk but do not have lung cancer. The study abstract ...

ACG: Recent increase in incidence of young-onset CRC

19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing, and the disease is more aggressive pathologically. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American ...

User comments