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Plain abdominal radiography in acute abdominal pain - is it really necessary?


Sreedharan, S and Florentino, M and Sinha, S, Plain abdominal radiography in acute abdominal pain - is it really necessary?, Emergency Radiology: A Journal of Practical Imaging, 21, (6) pp. 597-603. ISSN 1070-3004 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 American Society of Emergency Radiology

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10140-014-1244-y


The aims of this study are to audit the ordering of abdominal radiographs (AXR) in the emergency department (ED) and evaluate the current practices, knowledge and attitudes of emergency physicians with regard to ordering AXRs in patients presenting with acute abdominal pain. A retrospective study was undertaken at an ED of a tertiary hospital in Tasmania using clinical notes on patient presenting with acute abdominal pain who underwent an AXR. The study also included a short questionnaire, which assessed emergency physicians’ knowledge of current imaging guidelines and clinical practice when ordering an AXR. During the study period, 108 patients satisfied the selection criteria, and the AXR was reported as normal in 76 % (n = 82; p value <0.05), non-specific in 12 % (n = 13; p value <0.05) and abnormal in 12 % (n = 13; p value <0.05) of patients. Of those patients, 25 % (n = 27) of the AXRs did not meet indications listed in the Diagnostic Imaging Pathways published by the Western Australia Department of Health and were found not to benefit patient care. Of the 19 doctors who completed the survey, only 16 % (n = 3) were aware of any clinical guidelines for imaging in this setting. Current guidelines should be followed when ordering imaging for patients with acute abdominal pain to minimise unnecessary patient radiation exposure, avoid delays in diagnosis and definitive patient management, reduce costs and therefore increase efficiency in ED.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:abdominal radiography, acute abdomen, acute abdominal pain, emergency, guidelines
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Radiology and organ imaging
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Sreedharan, S (Mr Sadhishaan Sreedharan)
UTAS Author:Sinha, S (Professor Sankar Sinha)
ID Code:98293
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2015-02-10
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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