JOURNAL ARTICLE

Assessment of referral patterns for CT KUB in a tertiary setting

H Jo, B T Buckley
Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 2009, 53 (6): 516-21
20002282
The purpose of this study was to assess the referral patterns and the use of unenhanced renal tract CT (CT KUB) for investigating patients presenting with clinically suspected renal colic. We retrospectively reviewed 500 consecutive CT KUB studies requested for suspected renal colic carried out at a single institution between December 2006 and July 2007. Follow-up radiology reports and discharge summaries on the hospital clinical Intranet were also reviewed. Studies were analysed for characteristics including patient demographics, referring clinical team, time of referral, final diagnosis and requirement for further imaging. The majority of requests were from Emergency (ED) or Urology Departments (49%, 245 out of 500, and 37%, 186 out of 500, respectively). The positive rate for urolithiasis was 67% (337 out of 500), the negative rate was 25% (123 out of 500), and 8% (40 out of 500) of patients had alternative significant findings. Female patients were more likely to have a negative study than male patients (35 versus 20%, P < 0.0001) and more likely to have alternative significant pathology (12 versus 6%, P < 0.0001). Patients referred by specialities other than Urology and ED were more likely to be female and have a negative or alternative finding (P < 0.0001). CT KUB is a widely used first method of investigation for patients with suspected renal colic with a high positive predictive value allowing rapid diagnosis and intervention. However, given the high rate of negative or alternative findings on CT KUB in young women, especially those referred by specialities other than ED or Urology, ultrasound should be considered as an alternative imaging method to minimise unnecessary radiation exposure.

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