The Benefits of Computed Tomographic Colonography in Reducing a Long Colonoscopy Waiting List
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PURPOSE: The Radiology Department, Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, BC, with the support of gastroenterologists and surgeons, was awarded a BC Innovation fund to run a pilot project of computed tomographic colonography to reduce an unacceptably long 2-year colonoscopy waiting list. Funds were approved in April 2007 for a 1-year project, which was completed on March 31, 2008. METHODS: This article describes the challenges of delivering a high-volume computed tomographic colonography program at a busy community hospital, with discussion of the results for the 2,005 patients who were examined. RESULTS: Colonoscopy was avoided in 1,462 patients whose computed tomographic studies showed no significant lesions. In the remainder of patients, only lesions larger than 5 mm were reported, with a total of 508 lesions identified in 433 patients. There were 57 cancers of which 52 were reported as either definite or possible cancers, whereas 5 were not seen on initial scans. Some of the patients with cancer had been on the colonoscopy waiting list for 2 years. In addition, there were 461 patients with significant extracolonic findings, including 84 who required urgent or semi-urgent further management for previously unsuspected conditions, such as pneumonia, aneurysms larger than 5 cm, and a range of solid renal, hepatic, and pancreatic masses. There were no procedural complications from the computed tomographic colon studies. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that it is feasible to run a high volume CTC service in a general hospital given hospital support and funding. The benefits in this group of over 2000 patients included avoidance of colonoscopy in over 70% of patients, detection of significant polyps or cancer in approximately 20% of patients, and identification of clinically important conditions in 7%-18% depending on the definition used. The estimated costs including capital, operating, and professional fees were in the range of $400.
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