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Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Dec;100(12):2771-6.

Computed tomographic colonography: prevalence, nature, and clinical significance of extracolonic findings in a community screening program.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia.



Colorectal neoplasia screening by computed tomographic colonography (CTC) may lead to the detection of incidental extracolonic findings. We report the prevalence and clinical significance of extracolonic pathology found within a community-based CTC screening program and the cost of clinical follow-up and further investigation of these findings.


A total of 432 asymptomatic subjects at an average risk of colorectal neoplasia, aged 50-69, had screening by CTC using a low radiation dose protocol. Axial images were prospectively examined for extracolonic lesions and those considered clinically relevant were followed up. All clinic visits and further investigations were tallied to calculate the incremental cost to the screening CTC.


A total of 146 extracolonic lesions were detected in 118 (27.3%) subjects. Thirty-two (7.4%) subjects had clinically relevant extracolonic abnormalities and nine (2.1%) subjects may derive a clinical benefit from the detection of these lesions. A single CTC costed $171.12, and following up extracolonic findings resulted in an additional $24.37 (14.2%) per CTC. Limiting reporting to the aorta and kidneys would have reduced the number of subjects requiring follow-up to 14 (3.2%), and decreased the cost increment to 4.7% without detriment to clinical outcome.


Extracolonic findings of screening CTC are common, but infrequent of clinical importance. The additional burden of following up these findings was modest and could have been further reduced if clear clinical and radiological criteria and pathways for their further investigation were defined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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