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

New tool to probe cancer's molecular make-up

21 hours ago

Scientists have shown how to better identify and measure vital molecules that control cell behaviour – paving the way for improved tools for diagnosis, prediction and monitoring of cancer.

Mayo Clinic offers at-home colon cancer test

Aug 26, 2014

Mayo Clinic is taking another step toward making detection of colorectal cancer as convenient as possible, announcing Monday an at-home kit that arrives and is sent back in the mail, stool sample included.

Finding keys to glioblastoma therapeutic resistance

Aug 26, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found one of the keys to why certain glioblastomas – the primary form of a deadly brain cancer – are resistant to drug therapy. The answer ...

No link found between diverticular disease, cancer

Aug 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Colonic diverticular disease does not appear to be linked to an increased risk of subsequent colorectal cancer (CRC), according to research published in the August issue of Clinical Gastroenterology an ...

User comments