Computed tomography use in U.S. emergency departments more than quadrupled between 1996 and 2007, but newly published data from more than 350,000 patient visits show that hospital admissions after a scan in the ED fell by more than half.
In light of concerns about potential cumulative radiation dose due to the skyrocketing use of medical imaging, the information sheds light on how CT scans may benefit patients, said Keith E. Kocher, MD, MPH, lead author of the study published online Aug. 12 in Annals of Emergency Medicine.
“There are a lot of questions to ask about the exploding use of CT scans in the ED, and one of the things you want to know is whether this is changing patient outcomes,” said Dr. Kocher, clinical instructor of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. “It appears there’s an association between the rate of CT scans going up and physicians being more likely to discharge patients home than [there] used to be.”
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