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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jan;10(1):52-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

Use of abdominopelvic computed tomography in emergency departments and rates of urgent diagnoses in Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



In the United States, the use of abdominopelvic computed tomography (APCT) by emergency departments for patients with abdominal pain has increased, despite stable admission rates and diagnosis requiring urgent intervention. We proposed that trends would be similar for patients with Crohn's disease (CD).


We conducted a retrospective study of data from 648 adults with CD who presented at 2 emergency departments (2001-2009; 1572 visits). Trends in APCT use were assessed with Spearman correlation coefficient. We compared patient characteristics and APCT findings during 2001-2003 and 2007-2009.


APCT use increased from 2001 (used for 47% of encounters) to 2009 (used for 78% of encounters; P = .005), whereas admission rates were relatively stable at 68% in 2001 and 71% in 2009 (P = .06). The overall proportion of APCTs with findings of intestinal perforation, obstruction, or abscess was 29.0%; 34.9% of APCTs were associated with urgent diagnoses, including those unrelated to CD. Between 2001-2003 and 2007-2009, the proportions of APCTs that detected intestinal perforation, obstruction, or abscess were similar (30% vs 29%, P = .92), as were the proportions used to detect any diagnosis requiring urgent intervention, including those unrelated to CD (36% vs 34%, P = .91).


Despite the increased use of APCT by emergency departments for patients with CD, there were no significant changes in admission rates between the periods of 2001-2003 and 2007-2009. The proportion of APCTs that detected intestinal perforation, obstruction, abscess, or other urgent conditions not related to CD remained high.

Copyright © 2012 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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