Multidetector computed tomography utilization in an urban sub-Saharan Africa setting: user characteristics, indications and appropriateness
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Introduction: multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) is a widely used cross-sectional imaging modality despite increasing concerns about radiation exposure and overuse. The aim of this study was to describe the socio-demographic characteristics of MDCT users in an urban city in Cameroon and to assess the clinical indications for appropriateness. Methods: we conducted a survey of MDCT users and collected data on demographic attributes and socialization patterns, clinical indications for MDCT and time to obtain MDCT. MDCT appropriateness was assessed using the American College of Radiologists Appropriateness Criteria®. Frequencies, percentages, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to summarize the data. Results: with a response rate of 79%, 511 MDCT users were surveyed. The mean (standard deviation) age was 45(19) years and male to female sex ratio 1:1. Seventy-eight percent (95% confidence interval [CI]: 74-83%) of respondents reported not having any health insurance. Head scans accounted for 52% (95%CI: 47-56%) of all scans with trauma (19% [95%CI: 15-22%]), low back pain (18% [95%CI: 14-21%]) and suspected stroke (10% [95%CI: 7-13%]) being the most frequent indications. Sixteen percent (95%CI: 13-20%) of the scans were judged to be inappropriate. Predictors of MDCT appropriateness after multivariable logistic regression modeling were age (aOR=0.97; P=0.009; 95%CI=0.94-0.99), health insurance ownership (aOR=0.40; P=0.034; 95%CI=0.18-0.94) and being referred by non-specialist physicians (aOR=0.20; P<0.001; 95%CI=0.09-0.47). Conclusion: people from all social strata use MDCT, mostly appropriately and especially for head scans after trauma in this urban setting. However, the proportion of inappropriate studies was considerable suggesting the need for control measures.
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