U.S. children's hospitals reduce CT exam volume

By Cynthia E. Keen, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

April 29, 2010 -- Have efforts to raise awareness about pediatric radiation dose resulted in a lower volume of CT studies for children in the U.S.? That appears to be the case, according to an article published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers found that CT exam volumes have been decreasing relative to volume for all cross-sectional imaging modalities from 2003 through 2007 at 39 children's hospitals in the U.S. Significant decreases in CT utilization were identified in 2006 and 2007.

Noting that the number of pediatric CT exams at Children's Hospital Boston had been declining since 2005 in spite of an increase in the overall number of CT scanners, radiologists conducted an Internet-based survey to members of the Society of Chairmen of Radiology at Children's Hospitals.

The survey asked respondents to provide the total number of imaging studies performed at their institution, as well as the total number of CT, MRI, and ultrasound exams performed for fiscal years 2003 through 2007. Twenty-three hospitals provided complete data, and 16 hospitals provided partial data (AJR, May 2010, Vol. 194:5, pp. 1194-1196).

Overall, the number of CT exams as a percentage of total cross-sectional studies declined from approximately 42% in 2003 to approximately 37% in 2007. Hospitals with 250 beds or less had the greatest rate of decrease, according to lead author Dr. Brent Townsend, currently a pediatric radiologist at Wake Radiology Associates in Raleigh, NC.

Out of the total 130,640 exams reported, MRI exams increased from approximately 21% to 24.5% of the total volume. The authors speculated that a portion of this increase could be attributed to increased availability of MRI modalities at small hospitals.

They also reported that self-described academic radiologists consistently had a lower percentage of CT cross-sectional exams than self-described private practice or hybrid groups.

By Cynthia E. Keen
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
April 29, 2010

Image Gently achieves global reach by 2nd anniversary, February 25, 2010

DR summit yields Image Gently CR/DR campaign, ACR dose registry, February 22, 2010

Image Gently campaign expands to interventional radiology, August 24, 2009

Image Gently campaign targets parents for 2009 initiative, February 3, 2009

Radiation dose awareness leads to drop in pediatric CT usage, December 12, 2008

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