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CT Scans for Abdominal Pain May Reduce Hospitalizations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 26, 2011

Additionally, the "physicians planned to admit 75.3% of the patients (440/584) to the hospital before the CT; that plan was changed to hospital discharge with follow-up in 24.1% of patients (106/440) after CT."

The study was conducted by Hani H. Abdujudeh and colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology from Nov. 2006 through Feb. 2008.

The authors said that prior to the CT, the clinicians surveyed believed 79 of these patients would proceed to surgery. After the scan, 20 of those patients were found to not need surgery and were discharged.

Prior to the CT, clinicians diagnosed with certainty 52 patients with appendicitis, but after the CT only 29 turned out to have that condition. Likewise for diverticulitis. Prior to the CT, that was the clinicians' opinion for 51 patients, but after the CT, only 25 had that diagnosis. While 80 patients were considered to have an intestinal obstruction, the CT determined only 43 needed that procedure.

In some cases, the CT directed physicians to a more serious diagnosis than they would otherwise have given their patients. For example, before a CT scan, five patients would have been diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease. After the scan, 19 patients received treatment for PID. Before the CT, eight patients were believed to have cholecystitis or cholangitis. After CT, 16 patients were so diagnosed.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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