More and more, doctors are turning to CT scans to come to a diagnosis, including for the 40 million people who visit emergency rooms every year.
In a recent report published by the Journal of Surgical Research , CT scans have seen their use more than double between 2005 and 2013. Although X-rays are still the leading and most used imaging technology, CT scans are certainly catching up.
CT scans are most often used to diagnose head and spine injuries, according the report.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California San Francisco and from Stanford University, and it looked at more than eight million adult patients who had visited 348 state hospitals.
Senior author Dr. Renee Hsia told Medical Daily, “CT provides so much more information than X-rays, especially of the soft tissue and internal organs. We see an increasing desire to use these more sophisticated technologies”
Part of the increasing popularity of the CT imaging could be in its technological improvement. Once, a few CT slices would have taken hours to process, and now it is possible to produce 3D models will billions of voxels in just seconds.
New models of CT scans, like GE Healthcare’s Revolution CT produces high quality images in varying colors of blood vessels, organs, tissue, and bone. An added benefit is the lower doses of radiation it emits, which lowers risk for patients.
In fact, another study shows that CT scanning may be able to better provide an early diagnoses for lung cancer.
A study by scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City compared the CT scans of normal chest X-rays in smokers or people with a history of smoking over the past 30 years. It showed that patients who underwent CT scans had an almost 15 to 20% lower risk of dying due to lung cancer when compared to those who only got X-rays.
The results will hopefully lead to earlier detection for smokers. As of February of this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a statement outlining plans to cover the cost for screenings for lung cancer.