CT scans increased by 500% from 1995 to 2007: study
The number of annual emergency room visits that included CT scans increased by 500%—from 2.7 million to 16.2 million— between 1995 and 2007, according to a study appearing in the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Radiology. In addition to finding a substantial increase in the number of CT scans performed annually, the researchers also noted that imaging procedures necessitating higher doses of radiation exposure increased at a faster rate than those requiring less radiation. Such high-dose scans included abdominal and pelvic scans, which deliver roughly seven times more radiation than head scans. “While our study did not directly address the issue of whether CT is being used appropriately, the steady increase raises the question of whether the use of CT is driven completely by medical appropriateness,” said David Larson, lead author on the study and a radiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. For the study, researchers examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.