Washington, D.C. — A study released today about the overuse of CT [computed tomography] scans uses input from a limited number of physicians and outdated data to assess physician understanding about the risks of radiation, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
Dr. Linda Lawrence, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP, said the study referenced a limited survey of 45 emergency physicians that was conducted more than five years ago. In addition, she expressed concern that as a result of the study’s conclusions, patients might be less likely to get CT scans, thus potentially putting their lives at risk in critical emergency-care situations.
“CT scanning is done more often in emergency departments for many very important reasons,” said Dr. Lawrence. “Emergency patients by definition are more in need of emergency care than other patients, and diagnostic imaging often is critical to determining the course of treatment,” she said. “In many cases, the risk of not testing can be more dangerous than testing.”
“We are concerned about the comparisons, generalizations and gross oversimplifications being made by the study, which could have grave consequence for patients facing emergency care,” said Dr. Lawrence. “In addition, the fear of lawsuits is another reason CT scans are conducted by many physicians. Multiple successful lawsuits have been won against physicians for not performing CT scans, and the nation needs to reform the litigious system in which physicians are punished for using good judgment and not testing.”
Sometimes I think studies come out that just gather data that fits their own conclusion…