Abdominal computed tomography prolongs length of stay and is frequently unnecessary in the evaluation of acute pancreatitis.
BACKGROUND: Computed tomography (CT) can play a vital role in the diagnosis and staging of patients with acute pancreatitis. However, according to current guidelines, a CT examination should not be performed in all patients. We assessed the use of CT scanning in the evaluation of patients with acute pancreatitis at an urban teaching hospital.
METHODS: Retrospective review of patients admitted with the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis from October 1999 to October 2001. We recorded demographics, laboratory values, severity of illness, length of stay, indication for CT, ordering physician, and outcome.
RESULTS: Overall, 108 patients met our inclusion criteria. Of these, 58 (54%) underwent CT examination. There was no difference (all P > 0.60) in markers of severity of illness in patients undergoing CT versus no CT. The only significant difference was length of stay (P = 0.003). Patients not undergoing CT were discharged a mean of 3 days sooner. Most appropriate CTs were ordered by the gastroenterology consultants as opposed to the emergency room and medical groups; however, this group's length of stay was longest (P = 0.035).
CONCLUSIONS: In 1 teaching institution, physicians ordering CT for the evaluation of acute pancreatitis frequently do so without regard to the severity of patient illness. These examinations may prolong the length of hospitalization. Continued refinement and dissemination of guidelines for the diagnostic evaluation of acute pancreatitis is needed.
Published In/Presented At
Fleszler, F., Friedenberg, F., Krevsky, B., Friedel, D., & Braitman, L. E. (2003). Abdominal computed tomography prolongs length of stay and is frequently unnecessary in the evaluation of acute pancreatitis. The American journal of the medical sciences, 325(5), 251–255. https://doi.org/10.1097/00000441-200305000-00001
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine