Title: Use of CT Scans for Abdominal Pain in the ED: Factors in Choice
Country: United States
Age: Adult Only
Sex: All Sexes
Population: Multiple Groups
Care Setting: Emergency Department
Clinical Setting: General Diagnostic Imaging
Data Level: Single Institution
Data Type: EHR
Data Source: Local data
Conclusion: Disparities In Some Minority Groups
Health OutComes Reported: No
Free Text Conclusion: Black and Hispanic patients were less likely to have a CT scan for abdominal pain than White patients.
Abstract: Overutilization of healthcare resources is a threat to long-term healthcare sustainability and patient outcomes. CT is a costly but efficient means of assessing abdominal pain; however, 97 per cent of ED physicians acknowledge its overutilization. This study sought to understand factors that influence ED providers' decision regarding CT use in the evaluation of abdominal pain. After evaluating a patient for acute abdominal pain, ED providers filled in a form in which the primary diagnosis and index of suspicion were recorded. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify predictors of outcomes. The CT scan utilization rate was 54.82 per cent. Whereas 34.11 per cent of CT scans were normal, 30 per cent yielded an acute abdominal pathology. Tenderness and rebound tenderness were positive predictors of high index of suspicion [odds ratio (OR) 2.09 and 2.54, respectively]. These variables were also predictive of obtaining a CT scan [OR 2.64 and 3.41, respectively]. Compared with whites, the index of suspicion was 26 per cent and 56 per cent less likely to be high when patients were black [OR 0.73] or Hispanic [OR 0.44] respectively. Blacks and Hispanics were less likely to have CT scans performed than whites [OR 0.58 and 0.48, respectively]. Leukocytosis significantly affected the index of suspicion for acute abdominal pathology, obtaining a CT scan and the acuity of CT scan diagnosis on multivariate analysis. Patients aged 60 years had 2.03 odds of acute CT finding compared with those aged <60 years. There is a need for committed efforts to optimize CT scan utilization and eliminate socioeconomic disparities in health care.