Dear CT Insider,
As access to CT steadily grows in hospitals and clinics across the U.S., healthcare providers from a wide range of specialties are becoming increasingly dependent on the technology. This has raised concerns about the overutilization of CT, especially for emergency cases.
Indeed, the findings of a new study confirmed a sharp increase in emergency CT usage rates for patients presenting with eye injuries. Learn about the measures radiologists and ophthalmologists at Johns Hopkins University are taking to minimize unnecessary orbital CT use at their institution in this edition's Insider Exclusive.
One potential downside to the overuse of CT is exposing patients to more radiation than might be necessary. Recent research by a group from the U.S. and Taiwan found that CT radiation was associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer and leukemia, validating concerns over the harms of excessive radiation exposure.
On a more positive note, the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reported that the average radiation dose patients are exposed to each year has decreased by as much as 20% since 2006.
Furthermore, research continues to demonstrate the benefits of CT in a variety of clinical scenarios, including the following:
- Coronary CT angiography, along with functional tests, can help predict the risk of heart attack and death in individuals suspected of having coronary artery disease based on their age.
- Chest CT could help improve the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
- CT lung screening has contributed to a marked improvement in the five-year survival rate of lung cancer patients in the past decade.
More recently, growing unease over the hazards of vaping has underscored the value of CT. The imaging modality has played a critical part in the identification of electronic cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated injury (EVALI). With the number of EVALI cases steadily on the rise, researchers have turned to CT and other characteristics of the condition to establish a preliminary EVALI guideline that may help standardize its assessment and treatment.
Head over to the CT Community at AuntMinnie.com to stay abreast of the latest on the outbreak of vaping-associated lung injury and the role of radiologists in managing the ongoing epidemic.