Doctors order thyroid ultrasounds without good reasons

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

August 13, 2020 -- About one-third of physicians have ordered thyroid ultrasound scans for patients for reasons that weren't supported by clinical care guidelines, according to a new study published August 12 in JAMA Surgery.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center asked 610 surgeons, endocrinologists, and primary care doctors when a thyroid or neck ultrasound should be scheduled.

In all, 33% responded that they ordered an ultrasound scan at the patient's request, and 28% said they did so due to patients' abnormal thyroid function tests, which is a factor the American Board of Internal Medicine's Choosing Wisely campaign specifically advises against, according to the findings.

These responses show that a guide for when doctors should order a thyroid ultrasound scan should be created to avoid overdiagnosis by finding slow-growing nodules or those that never require treatment, the researchers wrote.


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