Pari V. Pandharipande,

A recent study in Radiology found that CT results impact clinical decision making and substantially increase diagnostic confidence among primary care physicians (PCPs).

Ninety-one PCPs completed pre- and post-CT surveys related to the care of 373 patients in institutions across the country.

The authors found that after CT:

  • PCPs' leading diagnosis changed in 53% of patients with abdominal pain, 49% of patients with hematuria (the presence of blood in the urine) and 57% of patients with weight loss.
  • PCPs' management plans changed in 35% of patients with abdominal pain, 27% of patients with hematuria, and 54% of patients with weight loss.
  • CT helped to confirm or exclude secondary diagnoses in 97% or more of patients that were referred to CT with abdominal pain, hematuria or weight loss.

"This study gets to the heart of the question: what is it that we do as radiologists that impacts care down the road?" says abdominal radiologist Pari V. Pandharipande,MD, MPH, director of the Mass General Institute of Technology Assessment and lead author of the study, which was conducted in partnership with multiple institutions. Compared to PCPs' leading diagnoses for these clinical indications before CT, "We were surprised at the magnitude of the change [after CT]," she adds.

Read a summary of the study and listen to Dr. Pandharipande discuss the findings in a podcast with the Radiological Society of North America. Learn more about CT imaging at Mass General.