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Abdominal CTs Can Evaluate the Lumbar Spine


Abdominal CT studies can help clinicians accurately evaluate the lumbar spine.

Abdominal CT studies are a feasible method for obtaining an accurate evaluation of the lumbar spine, according to a study published in the British Journal of Radiology.

Researchers from Milwaukee VA Medical Center in Wisconsin sought to determine if the lumbar spine can be accurately evaluated on an abdominal CT.

The researchers obtained the records of all consecutive patients who underwent an abdominal CT within 12 months of a lumbar spine MRI between November 1, 2010 and October 31, 2015. The abdominal CT studies were retrospectively reviewed in a blinded fashion for the presence of any significant lumbar spine abnormalities. The prospective lumbar spine MRI reports were used as the standard of reference.

A total of 144 patients met the inclusion criteria of the study; 107 patients had 256 abnormal findings on the lumbar spine MRI studies.

Abdominal CT in lumbar spine evaluation
Per patient/Per finding
Positive predictive value
Negative predictive value

The researchers concluded that while there were several limitations, which included spinal cord assessment, bone marrow assessment, and quantum mottle, compared with evaluation of the lumbar spine using MRI, evaluation of the lumbar spine on abdominal CT studies can be accurately performed with current state-of-the-art CT scanners. They do suggest that additional prospective studies are needed for a more definitive analysis.

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