Clinical demand for chest/abdomen/pelvis anatomy following thoracic or lumbar spine CT
Tomography, X-Ray Computed
The purpose of this study is to determine how often CT is repeated to obtain chest/abdomen/pelvis data outside the reconstructed field of view (FOV) on a prior spine CT. Radiology records of 1,239 consecutive thoracic and lumbar spine CT exams of 1,025 patients from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008 were retrospectively reviewed to identify patients who subsequently had CT studies of the chest, abdomen, and/or pelvis. The CT data were also evaluated for contrast enhancement, slice thickness, radiation dose, and reason for subsequent CT exam. Over 3 years, 290 of the 1,239 (24%) spine CT exams were followed by CT of the same anatomic region to evaluate extraspinal anatomy. The use or nonuse of contrast in these follow-up studies was the same as the preceding spine study in 91 cases, which were repeated on the same day (n = 37), within 7 days (n = 19), within 8-30 days (n = 15), or after 30 days (n = 20). Fourteen of 25 (56%) T spine CTs and 34 of 52 (65%) L spine CTs without contrast were followed by a chest CT or abdomen/pelvis CT without contrast within 7 days, respectively. Among 31 pediatric exams, 6 of 31 (19%) spine CTs were followed by a CT of the same anatomic region, all within 7 days. Reconstructing full FOV images of spine CT scans in addition to the standard coned down spine FOV may reduce redundant CT imaging and radiation dose.