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Determining which patients with ureterolithiasis are likely to require urologic intervention is a common challenge in the emergency department (ED). The objective was to determine if normal renal sonogram could identify low-risk renal colic patients, who were defined as not requiring urologic intervention within 90 days of their initial ED visit and can be managed conservatively.
This was a prospective cohort study involving adult patients presenting to the EDs of a tertiary care centre with suspected renal colic over a 20-month period. Renal ultrasonography (US) was performed in the diagnostic imaging department by trained ultrasonographers, and the results were categorized into four mutually exclusive groups: normal, suggestive of ureterolithiasis, visualized ureteric stone, or findings unrelated to urolithiasis. Electronic medical records were reviewed to determine if patients received urologic intervention within 90 days of their ED visit.
Of 610 patients enrolled, 341 (55.9%) had US for suspected renal colic. Of those, 105 (30.8%) were classified as normal; none of these patients underwent urologic intervention within 90 days of their ED visit. Ninety (26.4%) US results were classified as suggestive, and nine (10%) patients received urologic intervention. A total of 139 (40.8%) US results were classified as visualized ureteric stone, and 34 (24.5%) patients had urologic intervention. Seven (2.1%) US results were classified as findings unrelated to urolithiasis, and none of these patients required urologic intervention. The rate of urologic intervention was significantly lower in those with normal US results (p<0.001) than in those with abnormal findings.
A normal renal sonogram predicts a low likelihood for urologic intervention within 90 days for adult ED patients with suspected renal colic.
To assess the current level of knowledge and practice patterns of emergency physicians regarding radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging modalities for investigating acute pulmonary embolism (PE).
An online survey was sent to adult emergency physicians working at two academic tertiary care adult emergency departments (EDs) to determine imaging choices for investigating PE in various patient populations and to assess their current knowledge of radiation doses and risks. A retrospective chart review was performed for all adult patients who underwent computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) and/or ventilation-perfusion (V/Q) scanning in the same EDs.
The survey response rate was 72.1% (31 of 43 physicians). For patients < 30 years old, 83.9% of physicians chose V/Q scanning as their test of choice, regardless of gender. Although only a third of respondents knew the estimated radiation dose of a V/Q scan (37.5%) and a CTPA (32%), the majority were aware that V/Q scans involved less ionizing radiation than CTPAs. In the retrospective review, 663 charts were reviewed, including 201 CTPAs and 462 V/Q scans. V/Q scanning was the preferred modality in female patients (75.9% v. CTPA 24.1% [OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.5–2.9]) and in patients < 30 years old (87.9% v. CTPA 12.1% [OR 4.8; 95% CI 2.4–9.4]).
Although surveyed physicians possessed limited knowledge of radiation doses of CTPA and V/Q scans, they preferentially used the lower radiation V/Q scans in younger patients, particularly females, in both the survey vignettes and in clinical practice. This may reflect efforts to reduce radiation exposures at our institution.
Computed tomography (CT) is an imaging modality used to detect renal stones. However, there is concern about the lifetime cumulative radiation exposure attributed to CT. Ultrasonography (US) has been used to diagnose urolithiasis, thereby avoiding radiation exposure. The objective of this study was to determine the ability of US to identify renal colic patients with a low risk of requiring urologic intervention within 90 days of their initial emergency department (ED) visit.
We completed a retrospective medical record review for all adult patients who underwent ED-ordered renal US for suspected urolithiasis over a 1-year period. Independent, double data extraction was performed for all imaging reports and US results were categorized as “normal,” “suggestive of ureterolithiasis,” “ureteric stone seen” or “disease unrelated to urolithiasis.” Charts were reviewed to determine how many patients underwent subsequent CT and urologic intervention.
Of the 817 renal US procedures ordered for suspected urolithiasis during the study period, the results of 352 (43.2%) were classified as normal, and only 2 (0.6%) of these patients required urologic intervention. The results of 177 (21.7%) renal US procedures were suggestive of ureterolithiasis. Of these, 12 (6.8%) patients required urologic intervention. Of the 241 (29.5%) patients who had a ureteric stone seen on US, 15 (6.2%) required urologic intervention. The rate of urologic intervention was significantly lower in those with normal results on US (p < 0.001) than in those with abnormal results on US.
A normal result on renal US predicts a low likelihood for urologic intervention within 90 days for adult ED patients with suspected urolithiasis.
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