Individualization of computed tomography protocols for suspected pulmonary embolism: a national investigation of routines
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of international medical research. 2020, 48 (4), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/0300060520918427
Objective Given the extensive use of computed tomography (CT) in radiation-sensitive patients such as pregnant and pediatric patients, and considering the importance of tailoring CT protocols to patient characteristics for both the radiation dose and image quality, this study was performed to investigate the extent to which individualization of CT protocols is practiced across Norway. Methods This cross-sectional study involved collection of CT protocols and administration of a mini-questionnaire to obtain additional information about how CT examinations are individualized. All public hospitals performing CT to detect pulmonary embolism were invited, and 41% participated. Results Tailoring a standard protocol to different patient groups was more common than using dedicated protocols. Most of the available radiation dose-reduction approaches were used. However, implementation of these strategies was not systematic. Children and pregnant patients were examined without using dedicated CT protocols or by using protocol adjustments focusing on radiation dose reduction in 30% and 39% of the hospitals, respectively. Conclusion Practice optimization is needed, especially the development of dedicated CT protocols or guidelines that tailor the existing protocol to pediatric and pregnant patients. Practice might benefit from a more systematic approach to individualization of CT examinations, such as inserting tailoring instructions into CT protocols.