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Multiple views from CT scans may improve diagnosis

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Routinely reformatting computed tomography (CT) scans to view organs from several different directions may help radiologists improve diagnosis, according to new research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. The results are being presented this week at the American Roentgen Ray Society meeting in New Orleans, La.

"You can see things in one view that you might miss in another," said Craig Barnes, M.D., section head of pediatric radiology at Wake Forest Baptist's Brenner Children's Hospital. "It costs no more as relates to scan time or radiation exposure, and we believe it provides added value in diagnosis."

CT scans use X-rays, radiation detectors and computers to produce images or "slices" through the body. In most cases, the images are in the axial plane a view looking down through the body. But new faster multidetector CT scanners that can capture eight or more slices at once opened the door to alternate views. With proper processing, these other views are of similar quality to the original axial images.

In some cases, physicians reformat the data to view an organ from the front. Called the coronal plane, this is similar to the way an X-ray looks. Another view, the sagittal plane, provides a view from the side.

"These alternate views are sometimes used to make it easier to see organs such as the spleen and liver, or vascular structures such as the aorta," said Barnes. "We wanted to see if there was an advantage to using the alternate views on a routine basis."

For the past two years, Wake Forest Baptist has used all three views on abdominal and chest CT scans of pediatric patients. For their prospective study, they reviewed 44 chest CT scans and 40 abdominal CT scans and compared reading time and accuracy of the views.

Images in the sagittal and coronal planes, which present views that are similar to a physical exam, could be read more quickly because fewer images are required, Ba
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
16-May-2005


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