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TOO MUCH CT

ARE CT SCANS OVERUTILIZED IN US EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Your chance of receiving a CT scan if you’re acutely injured and brought to a US emergency department is excellent.   That’s according to Frederick Korley, an emergency physician at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues.

KORLEY: We investigated the trends of CT scan utilization during US emergency department visits from 1998 to 2007.  We looked mainly at patients who came to the emergency department complaining mainly of injury related conditions.   We found that between 1998 and 2007 the odds that a patient would get a CT scan increased about 300%.     :22

The dangers of CT scanning are just beginning to be understood, especially for younger people or those who must undergo repeated scans.  That’s because radiation dosage is cumulative and may increase the lifetime risk of developing cancer.  Most acutely injured people are also younger, but Korley says for now, trust your doctor to order CT scans appropriately.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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