Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

CT scanning aids rapid diagnosis, treatment planning for abdominal pain

Date:
January 24, 2011
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
The use of CT scanning to evaluate abdominal pain in emergency departments can help physicians arrive at a diagnosis quickly and decisively. The new study also finds that information provided by CT scans changed treatment plans for almost half the patients studied and significantly reduced probable hospital admissions.

The use of CT scanning to evaluate abdominal pain in emergency departments can help physicians arrive at a diagnosis quickly and decisively. A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and appearing in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology also finds that information provided by CT scans changed treatment plans for almost half the patients studied and significantly reduced probable hospital admissions.

Related Articles


"Our report addresses an important question with substantial policy relevance -- what is the value of CT scanning in the emergency department setting?" says Scott Gazelle, MD, MPH, PhD, an MGH radiologist and director of the Institute for Technology Assessment, senior author of the study. "We specifically looked at how the use of CT for patients with abdominal pain affects physicians' thinking about their patients' diagnosis, their confidence in the diagnosis and the treatment plan; and we found that it significantly affected all three."

Gazelle explains that imaging has become a target for efforts to reduce health care costs. "We've strongly believed that the use of CT in the emergency department can improve efficiency in the workup for many conditions, but we haven't had the evidence we would like to back up that assertion. We chose abdominal pain for our study because it's a common presenting symptom that doesn't have the clearly defined diagnostic guidelines available for other common symptoms that can lead to CT, like headache."

Over a 15-month period from November 2006 through February 2008, physicians in the MGH Emergency Department (ED) who ordered CT scans for patients with abdominal pain not associated with a traumatic injury were asked to complete a questionnaire both before the scan was conducted and again after receiving the results. The questionnaire included the physicians' current diagnosis of the probable cause of symptoms, their level of confidence in the diagnosis and their expected treatment recommendations.

Complete sets of questionnaires on the care of 584 patients were available for analysis. The CT scan results changed the diagnosis for 49 percent of patients and the management plan for 42 percent. The number of patients who would have been held for observation -- possibly including additional diagnostic procedures -- decreased 44 percent, and the number of planned hospital admissions was reduced almost 20 percent. The use of CT scanning significantly increased physicians' confidence in their diagnosis -- both when the scan changed and when it did not change the prescan diagnosis -- and that improvement was more pronounced in resident physicians than in staff physicians.

"Poor diagnostic certainty can lead to poor decision making," explains lead author Hani Abujudeh, MD, MBA, of MGH Radiology. "Increased certainty improves treatment planning and can reduce inappropriate utilization of hospital resources. Overall, the CT scan is an important tool for providing our patients with appropriate and timely care."

Gazelle adds, "While we didn't include a cost analysis in our study, it is fair to say that our results suggest the CT scan might reduce the use of other tests and procedures and therefore lower overall costs. Another benefit is that CT provides rapid results, which makes the workup process more efficient and can reduce both monetary costs and the time required to move patients through the ED."

Gazelle is a professor of Radiology and Abujudeh an associate professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Additional co-authors of the American Journal of Roentgenology report are Rathachai Kaewlai, Robert Novelline, MD, and James Thrall, MD, MGH Radiology; Pamela McMahon, PhD, MGH Radiology and Institute for Technology Assessment; and William Binder, MD, MGH Emergency Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "CT scanning aids rapid diagnosis, treatment planning for abdominal pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202154.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2011, January 24). CT scanning aids rapid diagnosis, treatment planning for abdominal pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202154.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "CT scanning aids rapid diagnosis, treatment planning for abdominal pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202154.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins