Navigation Links
Huge Rise in CT, MRI, Ultrasound Scan Use: Study
Date:6/12/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- The number of advanced diagnostic scans, such as CTs and MRIs, has zoomed upward since 1996, greatly boosting the amount of estimated radiation that patients receive, according to a new analysis of the medical records of millions of Americans in HMO health plans.

It's not clear what extra risk the radiation poses, nor is it known how much difference the scans have made in terms of diagnosing and treating illness. Still, the existing research raises questions about overuse of the scans, said study lead author Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

"We spend in the ballpark of $100 billion a year on medical imaging, and we need to invest some research dollars to figure out how best to spend these dollars and when to image more and when to image less," she said. "The impact on health outcomes should be the driver of these decisions, rather than the fact that a new test has simply become available and we are enamored with the images."

The researchers studied millions of patients from six large HMO (health maintenance organization) health care systems over the period from 1996 to 2010. They followed 1 million to 2 million patients each year.

According to the findings, published in the June 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients underwent an average of just over one imaging examination -- such as an X-ray -- per year. A little over one-third were advanced diagnostic imaging tests, such as CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), nuclear medicine, a subset of nuclear medicine called PET (positron emission tomography), and ultrasound scans.

The researchers found that CT scans grew by nearly 8 percent a year, MRIs by 10 percent a year, and ultrasounds by nearly 4 percent a year. Nuclear medicine scans, which are fairly uncommon, dipped by 3 percent a year, however PET scans grew rapidly from 2004 to 2010 -- by 57 percent annually.

The researchers calculated that the percentage of patients who received high or very high levels of radiation through scans also rose over the 15 years. Of those who received scans in 2010, nearly 7 percent received high annual radiation exposure and nearly 4 percent received very high annual exposure.

Smith-Bindman said the scan rates in the HMOs in the study were a bit lower than in traditional fee-for-service systems, but the growth rates were the same. "While the financial incentives are very different in the [HMO] setting, the other factors that have led to the dramatic rise in imaging are all the same -- physician and patient demand, improvement in the technologies that allow it to answer a broad range of questions, fear of medical malpractice suits, and uncertainty due to the lack of clinical guidelines on when to use imaging," she said.

CT scans are often unnecessary, Smith-Bindman added, and she believes that there aren't enough good guidelines regarding the use of scans in general.

Scanning technology has become much more accurate and useful over time, said Dr. Hiroto Hatabu, an associate professor of radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who co-wrote a commentary accompanying the study.

For example, Hatabu said, scans make it much less difficult to diagnose bleeding in the brain.

But he acknowledged that high-tech scans can be overused. "I think we can use information technology and try to control it in the future. And there are ongoing efforts to decrease the radiation doses and get the same information."

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, a trade organization for the medical imaging industry, announced last week that it has launched new projects to protect patients from being exposed to unnecessary levels of radiation.

More information

For more about CT scans, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Rebecca Smith-Bindman, M.D., professor, University of California, San Francisco; Hiroto Hatabu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; June 8, 2012, statement, Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance; June 13, 2012, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study examines benefit of follow-up CT when abdominal ultrasound inconclusive
2. Breast cancer patients with positive ultrasound guided axillary node biopsy need dissection
3. Automated breast ultrasound dramatically reduces physician interpretation time
4. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound monitors aortic aneurysm treatment
5. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
6. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
7. Coffee Drinking in Pregnancy Wont Lead to Sleepless Baby: Study
8. Lower GI problems plague many with rheumatoid arthritis, Mayo Clinic study finds
9. Veggies Like Broccoli, Cabbage May Help Fight Breast Cancer: Study
10. No Added Cancer Risk From Hip Replacement Materials: Study
11. Reported Decline in U.S. Pneumonia Deaths May Be False: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Huge Rise in CT, MRI, Ultrasound Scan Use: Study
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), a leading nonprofit ... has named Scott Santarella as its new CEO. , Santarella is former ... San Francisco, where he successfully helped to grow the organization from a regional ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Researchers ... of protocols designed to reduce bleeding complications from percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The ... Interventions (SCAI) in Orlando, FL, document a 40% reduction in risk-adjusted bleeding event ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Design Concepts ... ‘El Centro del Quinto Sol Wheel Park’ in Pueblo, Colorado. This park was ... offer something special for this often overlooked neighborhood. Located at 609 E. 6th ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Celebration is in ... kicked off its 5th Annual Photo Contest. The label contest is underway, and ... year's prizes include a GoPro Hero4, a 40-inch high-definition flat-screen television, an Apple ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... On the ... took the time to summarize the weight loss process: , New patients have a ... Composition Analysis (BCA) to get accurately evaluated. , Body Composition Analysis, There are 15 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Experts from various ... Medicine and the role of technology in innovative ... The First International Conference of VPS-Penn Medicine opened in ... and presence of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister ... Medicine, which helps provide personalized medicine and tailor-made healthcare in ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... , May 23, 2016 The ... USD 5.0 billion by 2022, according to a new ... of medical waste coupled with the lack of centralized ... expected to drive the demand for reprocessed medical devices ... as compared to that of the original device is ...
(Date:5/22/2016)... DUBLIN , May 23, 2016 ... to develop its anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory compound DS102 ... well as in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients. ... is significantly sequestered in lung tissue and has ... tissue after oral administration. The Company will publish ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: