Are we ready to fight a new turf battle in radiation protection?
Recent studies have raised the problem of dose optimisation imaging protocols in patients with renal colic. Some of them are written by emergency physicians, who seem to pay more attention to this problem than radiologists. We would like to hear what you think about this issue in the comments section below.
Renal colic is a common problem, which is increasing in incidence, affects 10%-15% of people over during their lives, and has a tendency to recur. The ability to rapidly identify kidney stones, as well as their position along the ureter and their dimensions, with high sensitivity and specificity using unenhanced CT, has made this technique the first-line approach to the condition. Since CT involves ionising radiation and there is growing concern about its possible carcinogenic effects, low-dose CT protocols for urolithiasis have been developed to minimise radiation risk.
However, low-dose images and often considered as low-quality images and, although these protocols have been shown to be accurate for stone detection, there are concerns about their use due to fears of missing other diagnoses that may clinically mimic stone disease, such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, and cholecystitis. A possible solution could be to use different CT protocols according to the pre-test probability of stone disease. In patients with a previous history of urolithiasis, a low-dose CT examination would be sufficient.