COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Prospective comparison of unenhanced spiral computed tomography and intravenous urogram in the evaluation of acute flank pain

O F Miller, S K Rineer, S R Reichard, R G Buckley, M S Donovan, I R Graham, W B Goff, C J Kane
Urology 1998, 52 (6): 982-7
9836541

OBJECTIVES: To prospectively compare the diagnostic ability of unenhanced spiral computed tomography (NCCT) and intravenous urogram (IVU) in the evaluation of adults with acute flank pain.

METHODS: After giving informed consent, 106 adult patients with acute flank pain suspected of having urolithiasis underwent NCCT followed by IVU. Subsequent follow-up was scheduled within 72 hours in the Urology Clinic. Each NCCT was read by a single radiologist who was unaware of clinical history and IVU results. Each IVU was read by a different radiologist who was unaware of clinical history and NCCT results. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were determined for NCCT and IVU.

RESULTS: The diagnosis of ureterolithiasis was defined as unequivocal evidence of urolithiasis on either NCCT or IVP. Seventy-five of 106 patients evaluated were diagnosed with ureterolithiasis. Clinical follow-up was available in 74 (98%) stone patients and in 31 (100%) of 31 non-stone patients. In 72 of the 75 patients diagnosed with ureteral calculi, the NCCT made the diagnosis. IVU made the diagnosis in 65 of the 75 patients. Of the 31 patients without ureterolithiasis, the NCCT was negative in all cases. IVU was negative in 29 of the 31 cases. Unenhanced spiral CT was 96% sensitive and 100% specific (P <0.001). IVU was 87% sensitive and 94% specific (P <0.001). Compared with IVU, using the log odds ratio and Fisher's exact test, NCCT was significantly better able to predict the presence of urolithiasis (P=0.015).

CONCLUSIONS: NCCT accurately diagnoses ureterolithiasis in patients presenting with acute flank pain. NCCT is significantly better than IVU in determining the presence of urolithiasis.

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