CT Insider

Dear CT Insider,

With the usage rate of emergency CT scans escalating every year, clinicians and policymakers have sought out various strategies to increase the efficiency of emergency imaging and patient care.

One approach Vancouver General Hospital has taken to meet this growing demand is to ensure a staff radiologist is available to examine medical images onsite at all hours of the day. Researchers from the Canadian institution found that implementing a 24/7 radiology service led to significant reductions in turnaround time for head CT interpretation. Discover what other aspects of emergency care the service helped improve in this edition's Insider Exclusive.

Increasingly over the past several years, CT exams have been used to determine an individual's coronary artery calcium (CAC) score. In recent months, there has been an especially pronounced uptick in CT CAC use to estimate heart disease risk, in no small part due to endorsement of the test by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Indeed, numerous studies have demonstrated the potential benefit of using CT CAC to evaluate heart disease, including the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Researchers from Johns Hopkins Hospital found that examining self-rated health assessments in addition to CT CAC exams improved their capacity to predict adverse cardiac events in the MESA population. A separate group of U.S. researchers found that elevated CT CAC scores did not increase the risk of all-cause mortality of endurance athletes who participated in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study.

CT lung cancer screening, too, has consistently appeared in recent news. A team of investigators from China reported that CT lung screening has trended upward in the nation over the past decade, whereas the use of x-ray for lung cancer imaging has fallen. What's more, Russian researchers have developed an artificial intelligence program, called Doctor AI-zimov, capable of detecting cancerous lung nodules on CT scans in less than 20 seconds.

In other news, a group from California identified a high proportion of head injuries on the emergency CT scans of electric scooter riders. The researchers suggested that their findings might help prompt regulating agencies to require scooter riders to wear helmets.

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