Dramatic rise in MRI and CT use in ERs raises questions

A dramatic increase in the use of medical imaging in emergency departments when seeing patients with injuries hasn’t paid off with an equal rise in diagnosing life-threatening conditions or follow-up hospital admissions, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers concludes in a study published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research group, led by Frederick Kofi Korley, an emergency physician and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reviewed emergency department data collected nationally over a 10-year period, 1998 to 2007. The Johns Hopkins team found that patients with injury-related conditions were three times more likely to get a computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan in 2007 than they were in 1998.

During the same 10-year period, the Johns Hopkins team found that diagnosis of life-threatening conditions, such as a cervical spine fracture or liver laceration, rose only slightly. There was virtually no change in the proportion of hospital admissions for patients seen in emergency departments for injury-related conditions in the same time span.

source: Johns Hopkins University

1 comment:

Sarah said...

The use of MRI's and CT scans is an important part of determining internal and serious injury or trauma. I for one would prefer to have one of these procedures done to rule out or prove injury rather than suspecting injury and just treating. Why not use this type of technology if its available. Patients would rather doctors prove diagnoses than treating without knowing for sure what the problems are.