Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Reducing radiation exposure and costs: CT body scout views with an enhanced protocol versus conventional radiography after shunt surgery.

OBJECTIVE: Ventriculoperitoneal shunt implantation has become standard treatment for cerebrospinal fluid diversion, besides endoscopic third ventriculostomy for certain indications. Postoperative X-ray radiography series of skull, chest and abdomen combined with cranial CT are obtained routinely in many institutions to document the shunt position and valve settings in adult patients. Measures to reduce postoperative radiation exposure are needed, however, there is only limited experience with such efforts. Here, we aim to compare routine postoperative cranial CT plus conventional radiography series (retrospective arm) with cranial CT and body scout views only (prospective arm) concerning both diagnostic quality and radiation exposure.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: After introduction of an enhanced CT imaging protocol, routine skull and abdomen radiography was no longer obtained after VP shunt surgery. The image studies of 25 patients with routine postoperative cranial CT and conventional radiography (retrospective arm of study) were then compared to 25 patients with postoperative cranial CT and CT body scout views (prospective arm of study). Patient demographics such as age, sex and primary diagnosis were collected. The image quality of conventional radiographic images and computed tomography scout views images were independently analyzed by one neurosurgeon and one neuroradiologist.

RESULTS: There were no differences in quality assessments according to three different factors determined by two independent investigators for both groups. There was a statistically significant difference, however, between the conventional radiography series group and the CT body scout view imaging group with regard to radiation exposure. The effective dose estimation calculation yielded a difference of 0.05 mSv (two-tailed t-test, p = 0.044) in favor of CT body scout view imaging. Furthermore, the new enhanced protocol resulted in a reduction of cost and the use of human resources.

CONCLUSION: CT body scout view imaging provides sufficient imaging quality to determine shunt positioning and valve settings. With regard to radiation exposure and costs, we suggest that conventional postoperative shunt series may be abandoned.

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