Public Release: 

Whole-body CT screening for GI disease may not be effective

American College of Radiology

The use of whole-body computed tomography (CT) to screen for significant diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract should be questioned, says a preliminary study from researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

The study evaluated radiographic reports from 1,192 patients who underwent whole-body CT screening. The results showed that 1,080 of those patients (91%) showed either negative or benign findings in the GI tract on their CT scans.

According to Giovanna Casola, MD, lead author of the study, "A total of 328 patients were reported to have abnormalities of the GI tract, of which 216 of these were benign or of no or minimal clinical significance, such as granulomas or cysts. The vast majority of patients screened had no or benign GI findings; the remainder had findings that generated other imaging exams for unknown benefit."

Since this is a preliminary study, the authors caution that final results are still to be culled. "The limitation of our study is that we do not know what the final diagnosis was in these patients since we do not have outcomes at this time. Right now, we have preliminary data that shows that no GI malignancy was screened. We still need to get final outcomes," said Dr. Casola.

The study will be presented on May 3 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.


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