New Study Findings: Has use of CT scans in emergency departments to test for pulmonary embolism leveled off?
Main Findings from this Study
- Among patient visits to US EDs from 2001 to 2009 in which there were one or more of three specific chest symptoms suggesting the presence of an acute PE, there was an increase in the use of CT through 2007.
- Overall use of CT in these visits increased from 2.6% in 2001 to 13.2% in 2007.
- The average annual growth rate in CT use from 2001 to 2007 was 28.2%.
- Use of CT in these ED visits stopped growing after 2007 and fell to 12.5% in both 2008 and 2009.
- Few ED patients with chest symptoms who underwent CT were found to have PE.
- 2.7% of these patients on average received a PE diagnosis.
- Pneumonia was more likely to be diagnosed than PE, with 7.2% of patients with chest symptoms who underwent CT during 2006-2009 diagnosed with pneumonia.
About this Study
Researchers analyzed information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to examine patterns of CT use and numbers of PE diagnoses in ED patients arriving with chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood.
To learn more about CDC’s activities related to DVT/PE, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/aboutus/annualreport2012/ar2012-vte.html
To find other organizations that focus on DVT/PE, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/links.html or to obtain free resources on DVT/PE, please visithttp://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/freematerials.html.
Feng LB, Pines JM, Yusuf HR, Grosse SD. U.S. Trends in computed tomography use and diagnoses in emergency department visits by patients with symptoms suggestive of pulmonary embolism, 2001-2009. Acad Emerg Med. 2013 Oct; 20(10):1033-40.