What to know before giving, getting a CT scan

The use of CT scans has grown tremendously in the past three decades. The imaging tests, first widely used in the mid-1970s, have become a valuable tool for pinpointing tumors and blood clots, monitoring heart disease, and reducing the need for exploratory surgery. But there is evidence that their use has outpaced need.

The American Medical Association is taking public comment through the end of this week on a proposal to control use of the tests. There are a couple of good reasons for doing that.

Busting cardiac CTA myths

There are a few fairly long-standing myths about cardiac CT angiography (CTA). The top two emphasize its exploding use and high costs. Yet, several studies published in this month's American Journal of Roentgenology attempted to put those myths to bed. David C. Levin, MD, of the Center for Research on the Utilization of Imaging Services … Read more

Imaging and Comparative-effectiveness Research: A Conversation With William T. Thorwarth Jr, MD

Comparative-effectiveness research has become the platform for several organizations, including the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). Based at the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, ICER’s mission is to lead comparative-effectiveness–research innovation through methods that the organization says integrate considerations of clinical benefit and economic value through a unique … Read more

Uterine Fibroid Treatment Increases Quality of Life

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Women who received one of three treatments for uterine fibroids at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said their symptoms diminished and their quality of life significantly increased, according to this study.   Uterine fibroids are benign pelvic tumors that occur in as many as one in five women during their childbearing … Read more

CT scanning aids rapid diagnosis, treatment planning for abdominal pain

Improved diagnostic certainty in emergency department may lead to reduced overall cost

Massachusetts General Hospital

Release date: January 21, 2011

The use of CT scanning to evaluate abdominal pain in emergency departments can help physicians arrive at a diagnosis quickly and decisively.  A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and appearing in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology also finds that information provided by CT scans changed treatment plans for almost half the patients studied and significantly reduced probable hospital admissions. 

“Our report addresses an important question with substantial policy relevance – what is the value of CT scanning in the emergency department setting?” says Scott Gazelle, MD, MPH, PhD, an MGH radiologist and director of the Institute for Technology Assessment, senior author of the study. “We specifically looked at how the use of CT for patients with abdominal pain affects physicians’ thinking about their patients’ diagnosis, their confidence in the diagnosis and the treatment plan; and we found that it significantly affected all three.” 

Heroes in Proving the Value of Imaging: G. Scott Gazelle, MD, MPH, PhD

Imaging Futures
March 18, 2009 • Volume 4 • Number 3

Heroes in Proving the Value of Imaging is an occasional series about radiology professionals whose work demonstrates the value of the specialty through research, governmental affairs, humanitarian efforts, and more. In Part 2, ImagingBiz showcases the work of G. Scott Gazelle, MD, MPH, PhD, director of the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston. 


As the cost of health care continues its upward spiral and Congress begins to consider the riddle of widening access while controlling costs, there is a growing scrutiny of the value of diagnostic techniques and treatments. In the imaging field, no one has done more than Gazelle to deliver meticulously researched evidence.