Clinical impact of computed tomography in the emergency department in nontraumatic chest and abdominal conditions
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To evaluate the clinical impact of CT scan in modifying the clinical management in patients referred to the emergency department.
We prospectively evaluated 300 patients (177 males, 63 ± 18 years old) admitted in the emergency department (ED) of a single institution, who underwent a CT examination for thoracic and/or abdominal complains. Demographic and clinical data were collected. Hypothesized outcome prior to CT scan and final management (i.e., discharge, short observation in the ED, hospitalization, and department of admission) were compared.
After CT examination, a major variation in diagnosis occurred in 37% of cases and clinical management changed in 43%, occurring in 51% of patients who underwent abdominal CT, in 40% of chest CT, and in 29% of chest/abdominal CT (P = 0.015). Department of hospitalization changed in 26% of cases (P < 0.001). Clinical impact of CT scan was significantly associated (P = 0.001) with the color code at admission. In particular, the more severe was the clinical condition, the lower was the variation of management after CT examination.
This work confirms the crucial role of CT examination in the management of nontraumatic patients admitted to the ED, both in terms of better clarifying the diagnosis and in influencing the clinical management.
KeywordsComputed tomography Emergency department Clinical impact Outcome
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was waived by the relevant Ethics Committee.
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