Nearly one-fifth of trauma patients who undergo CT evaluation have incidental findings, according to a study performed by Columbus Radiology Corp. at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, OH.
Incidental findings during trauma evaluation are a growing concern for physicians in regards to the diagnosis and management of those findings. The study showed that 230 out of 1,256 patients (18.3%) who underwent CT of the cervical spine during an initial trauma evaluation had incidental findings. The incidental findings were stratified as trauma related and not trauma related. Results showed that incidental findings were associated with age, injury severity score and mechanism of injury.
“There are a lot of CT scans performed and as technology has advanced we are beginning to image more and more anatomy. With that we are identifying more incidental findings,” said Shella Farooki, MD, lead author of the study. “Our study found that patients who were older and had a higher injury severity score were more likely to have incidental findings. Additionally, injuries related to falls vs. motor accidents had a higher percentage of incidental findings,” she said.
“A lot of patients come into the ER as trauma patients, but are leaving with diagnoses that are not related to trauma. As a physician, you have to pay attention to detail in communicating and following up is important,” she said.
- Barboza et al. Incidental Findings in the Cervical Spine at CT for Trauma Evaluation. American Journal of Roentgenology, 2009; 192 (3): 725 DOI: 10.2214/AJR.08.1420
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