CT Overused in ED in Adults Who Have Fallen

March 2, 2015

Computed tomography imaging is being performed more often among adults in the ED who have fallen, but may be unnecessary in many cases.

Computed tomography scanning may be overused among adults admitted to emergency departments because of falls, according to a study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MMN sought to evaluate trends in CT use among adult patients admitted to EDs after a fall. The study included 22,166 patients who presented in the ED from 2001 to 2010.

The researchers looked at CT use and the proportion of visits that had life-threatening conditions, such as intracranial hemorrhage, organ laceration, and axial skeletal fractures, after the falls. They also studied the association between CT use and demographic characteristics and admission status of the patients.

The results showed a 2.5-fold increase in CT use in this patient group over the study period.

 20012010
CT performed after fall11.4%28.0%
Adult fall visits with life-threatening conditions5.7%8.2%

 

 

 

“When demographic and clinical variables were controlled for, increasing year was independently associated with CT utilization,” the authors concluded. “These findings suggest that CT may be overutilized among adult fall patients.”